Just graduated and ready to join the workforce? Here are job application dos and donts for the digital age.
1. Do Google yourself
When an HR exec receives you resume, it’s like dating someone new, the first thing they do is Google you. To stop them finding the YouTube video of you and your friends planking in Ion, you should search for yourself first, remove anything incriminating, make sure your Facebook profile is set to private and anything that’s visible is exactly how you want to be portrayed. Employers want to know you’re a real person, but if your cover photo is yourself bleary-eyed eating a hot dog outside of Zouk, you may want to re-think your social media strategy. Ditto for twitter, instagram and Pinterest.
2. Don’t use email addresses from the 90s
No one is going to consider a CV sent from [email protected], even if you have a PhD in awesomeness.
…and on that note…
3. Don’t claim to have a PhD in awesomeness
It isn’t cute or funny. Unless you are applying to work in advertising in which case say whatever the hell you want. Like these here….
4. Don’t talk cock
It goes without saying that everything in your resume should be true. Lie in this day and age and you’ll get found out eventually. Also watch how you describe yourself and be real. You either have an eye for detail or are big-picture-oriented – don’t contradict yourself!
5. Do NOT ask for travel directions
Find it out yourself boyscout, consider it task one in defining your resourcefulness. And while we are on this, do not be late. If you absolutely cannot help it, even if just for 15mins, call in advance to say you will be late, why? C’mon, it’s complete human decency.
6. Do omit the unflattering & unnecessary
You should never lie, but it’s okay to not mention information that isn’t so hot. Writing that you switched majors from law to psychology and then English literature and the employer will think you’re indecisive and don’t know what you want. Also nobody cares about your PSLE score (ok you got 290, time to move on!) or the third-runner-up in 100m breaststroke from your secondary school sports day! Small-time stuff like that just makes you look immature and inexperienced.
7. Don’t be humble
If you were top of your class, won an award, represented Singapore or obtained a scholarship don’t be afraid to include it. This applies to part-time jobs too, for example if you were outstanding salesman or employee of the month at your waitressing/retail/telemarketing position – it’s worth including.
Remember: actual achievements only.
8. Do dress well
You’re not going to tutorial so those flip flops and shorts must go. A good rule of thumb is to dress for the position above the one you want. If you’re an intern dress like an exec, if you’re an exec dress like a manager, and so on. Make sure it’s industry-appropriate. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed, especially when you’re young.
9. Do your homework before the interview
Knowing about the company, and the people you’re meeting is easy to do and gives you a huge leg-up. All it takes is a google search. If you’re applying to work for a magazine – you MUST read the magazine. Hirers want to know you are committed and excited about working with them. Prove that by dropping in nuggets of what you know into your answers. There’s nothing worse than a candidate who is blase and lacking knowledge – it looks lazy.
10. Be excited.
Nothing makes up for lack of experience like enthusiasm. Too cool for school does not work when there are thousands of fresh grads wanting a few coveted positions. You should demonstrate that you are eager and genuinely interested in the field/company/role., If you’re not – why are you applying for this job? Find something that rocks your socks and you won’t have to fake it at the interview or when you land the position.
11. Be realistic.
Don’t punch above your weight or date out of your league, although this is to be said in the same breath as don’t be afraid to dream big. If you’re walking in the room asking for the position of an exec, asking for a company car, a Director’s job title, wondering if you get to travel and if so, is it business class, oh, and wondering how you will be compensated for overtime, I’m sorry, you do not pass go nor collect $200.
Good Luck Padawans
May the Force Be With You.
PS: If you’re a potential candidate, or employer, or just an interview genius, leave a note and help us add on to this list!
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