The Most Important Step When Applying To Jobs: Preparation

Choices. We make a lot of them every day. When we consider future job opportunities, we have several choices that need to be made. “What type of work do I want to do?” “What type of workplace do I want to work for?” “How will I know if the job I am applying for is the right fit?” These questions are the foundation for the preparation you need to do when preparing to apply for jobs.

Before you even prepare for the job interview, you need to have a sound plan for applying for the jobs you want. Quantity is not always better, so applying to every job that opens up, while casting a wide net, doesn’t necessarily mean you are guaranteed to progress through the hiring process. Focusing your job search and preparation from the beginning allows you to put your best foot forward for the hiring committee. So many decisions and assumptions are made about candidates before they have even been able to speak to the hiring committee; set yourself apart in your preparation for applying well to positions.

With that, here are 2 things you should do to prepare to apply well to your next job.

Know what you want

Instead of casting a wide net and applying to every job you come across, take time before you start searching to create a list of your must-haves. Some items to consider thinking through:

  • What type of work do you want to do? Do you want the job to be the same thing every day, or do you want to have a variety of responsibilities that make each day a little different?
  • Do you prefer in-person work, remote work, or hybrid work?
  • Are you bound by a specific location? If you are, what is the farthest location away you would apply for a job?
  • Think about where you want to be in 3, 5, and 10 years. After you create this list of where you want to be, make sure you are looking at jobs that position you to get where you want to go next.

Do your research

After you have created the list of things you want in a new role, start searching. This is not the time to apply yet, this is the time to find every single job you can possibly find. Depending on what you find most helpful, you can consider researching and finding all jobs you think might be what you want and record details about the job, or you can consider narrowing your search to only record the jobs that fit the criteria you established when you created a list of your must-haves.

Linked is a spreadsheet to consider using when recording details about jobs you are considering applying for. Write everything down about the job you find, and then move on to the next one. Every day for a week, try to find 10-15 new jobs to apply for and record them in this spreadsheet.