Tips for applying for a job:
- Read the description and give them exactly what they ask for. Between this and grammar issues it is the easiest excuse not to consider you further for consideration.
- Tailor your cover letter to the individual (if no name is provided, research the top name at the organization). Form letters are okay, but you still need to tweak it to the individual and organization.
- If you are asked to e-mail your materials, send them a single PDF File (attach individual PDF files into one). It looks more professional and displays your technical aptitude.
- Be sure that the scanned cover letter has a signature. A digital application is no excuse for not being able to include your autograph unless it is in an online application.
- When e-mailing, use the content of your cover letter as the same as for the e-mail and edit as needed. Thus, the e-mail mirrors the cover letter and the attachment contains the cover letter, resume, and anything else they ask for.
- If they ask for a salary history, give it to them. Consider adding too a salary expectation based on your research. And, be sure to do that research in advance.
- Do not get discouraged if you do not get a response. Though I promote contacting everyone who applied (usually via e-mail) and then personally for those I actually I interviewed, most employers do not recognize the value of such respect. Learn from the lesson and do not repeat these bad habits. Stand out from the crowd when you are the one doing the hiring.
Tried and true suggestions for employers:
- Include in the job listing the expected timeline of when you will begin to review applications, when the interview process is planned to occur, and when you expect to fill the position. Also, tell them where they can go to get in depth information about your organization, i.e., website, GuideStar.org, etc. The more information they have before applying, the easier the process should be.
- Send an acknowledgement to everyone that applies. Even if it is a generic or canned response. Just let the applicant know it was received. And, whatever you do, do not send the materials back to the applicant with a personalized cover letter to say we do not accept such (in the cases of unsolicited applications).
- For those that are selected for an interview, be open and honest with them about the timeline and what your needs are. Consider sending out now, or after you have made your selection, an official “thank you, but no thank you” response just to let them know they will not be considered further.
- For anyone that is called for an interview, after you make your selection, pick up the telephone and call them back and let them know personally. Do not send them a form letter. You and they took the time to meet especially if they traveled a long distance. Respect them and use the opportunity to create some good will. If you, for some reason, need to fill this or another position in the near future, you can then go back to these individuals. It’s okay that you did not offer them the job, just tell them that it was a tough decision, you made a choice, and you want to keep in touch because you never know what the future holds.
- In the end, show the applicants respect. The hiring process provides a crystal clear picture into how the organization functions. Don’t let your organization have a personae as an undesirable employer. Stand out from the crowd and treat the talent right and they will treat you right too.