10 Things You Need to Do Before Applying for a Job


College graduation is both an end and a beginning — an end of a student’s school life and the beginning of a new journey towards the competitive world of job hunting. More often than not, fresh graduates barely have an idea on how and where to start, and most of the time, they are intimidated by other applicants who are already equipped with professional experience.    
Don’t fret. You can avoid being trapped in the vicious cycle of not being able to get a job without experience, and not getting any experience without a job. The trick is to market your academic strengths and achievements, identify your career interests and motivation, and convey your willingness to learn and grow with the organization. Here are your next steps after stepping out of college:    
1.) Know what you want to do.    
Think about what kind of job suits you, and decide where you want to work after graduation. Consider your hobbies, interests, and the things that you are passionate about. These factors will help you in deciding what type of career you would like to pursue. Once you have decided on this, it will be easier to find and evaluate job opportunities that fit your skills, abilities, personality, and career goals.    
2.) Prepare soft and hard copies of your updated resume.    
Your resume will be your passport for any job application. It should contain as much information about you as possible in clear, comprehensible terms. You may use a resume template as a starting point for creating your own resume. Add your information into the template, then personalize it later on to highlight your skills and abilities.    
Prioritize the content of your resume so that your most important and relevant achievements and experiences are indicated first. Make sure that you include all your contact information on your resume so that employers can easily get in touch with you. Proofread your resume as many times as necessary to make sure that it is free from typographical or grammatical errors.    
3.) Create a portfolio of your best works.    
A portfolio is a collection of your works that you may use to show off your skills and abilities to your potential employer. They are mostly used by writers, graphic artists, and designers to showcase their experience, accomplishments, and talents. If you have don't have much professional experience yet, you may use some of the outputs of your school work, volunteer work, and hobbies. For example, if you helped organize an event for a school organization, you can include a copy of a poster or flyer you designed in your portfolio.    
Don’t forget to include a hard copy of your resume with your sample works. Your portfolio may also contain copies of your transcript, certificates, awards and honors. Compile everything in a professional-looking ring binder or clear book.    
4.) Name and inform your character references.    
Make a list of three (3) to five (5) people who are willing to speak about your strengths, abilities, and experience, and let them know that you will be using them as references in your job applications so that they can prepare helpful comments for you. When your potential employer requests for your character references, provide full names, current positions, addresses, and contact numbers/email addresses.    
5.) Research about the company and position you are applying for.    
Try to find out as much as you can about the company and the position that you would like to apply for. Browse through their official website and social network pages. Read and understand the company’s history, mission, and culture. Not only will this help you in answering your interviewer’s questions, it will also help you decide whether the company is the right place for you or not.    
6.) Write a cover letter.    
The main purpose of a cover letter is to let your potential employer know that you are interested in applying for their job opening. It should also contain some information about your skills, experiences, and academic and co-curricular accomplishments that you gained in school.    
Sum up all your skills and achievements that you consider relevant to the position that you are applying for in clear and concise writing. Remember to use appropriate fonts, templates, and layout when writing your cover letter. It should be easy to read and look extremely professional.    
7.) Prepare your job interview attire.    
Before going on an interview, make sure that you have appropriate interview attire and that everything fits comfortably. Plan your attire beforehand so you don't have to spend time getting them ready on the day of the interview.    
In general, it is important to dress professionally for any job interview regardless of the work environment. However, it may help you make a better impression on your potential employer if you can find out the dress code of the company that you are applying for. If you're not sure what you should wear, you may check with the person scheduling the interview. Your interview attire can go from business formal to smart casual.    
8.) Prepare a good introduction or a description of yourself.    
When applying for an entry level position, you will most likely be asked to tell something about yourself at the beginning of your job interview. While introducing and describing yourself, you should always be able to relate yourself to the job. Present yourself in a way that your traits, personality, and skills match the things your potential employer is looking for.    
Before your interview, think about a few characteristics that you think you have and how you can make them sound as positive as possible. Prepare a guide or script that will include all the information you want to convey. You may list your qualities down and write about how they allowed you to solve different problems or succeed in various tasks.    
9.) Familiarize yourself with the most commonly asked job interview questions.    
The best thing you can do to improve your interviewing skills is to practice your responses to the most frequently asked questions during job interviews. You can look for commonly asked job interview questions on the internet. Try to remember certain keywords and rehearse your answers out loud, but you should never memorize to avoid sounding stiff, robotic, and insincere.    
10.) Prepare the required employment documents.    
You can prepare the following documents beforehand to help make your job application process easier: Birth Certificate, Transcript of Records, NBI Clearance, SSS E-1 Form or SSS ID, PhilHealth Registration Form, and PAG-IBIG (HDMF) Member’s Data Form. Below are links to downloadable forms to get you started:    
Online Application for NBI Clearance:    
SSS Downloadable E-1 Form:    
PhilHealth Member Registration Form:    
PAG-IBIG Member’s Data Form:    
You may need to do a lot of preparations before you enter the professional world, but don’t be overwhelmed. As a fresh graduate, you need to open yourself up to numerous possibilities and try to see them as learning opportunities. Just gear up with a lot of patience, determination, and optimism, seize every good opportunity, and put your best foot forward. If you’re lucky, you might land your dream job in no time! Good luck!a    
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