Gemrick’s Guide: Your first post-graduate job application

Applying for post-graduate jobs is bittersweet. All the long hours, sweat and hard work will finally pay off. At the same time, students are venturing into new territory where they won’t have the safety net of “I’m a student” anymore.

Some employers don’t read cover letters at all, some prefer them to be brief and some actually like detailed, in-depth cover letters. While the length can vary, the content of a cover letter should always remain the same.

The best cover letters highlight accomplishments that make the job applicant unique and of value to the prospective employer. As for a resume, most entry job tasks and duties waver along similar descriptions. To ensure that one’s resume isn’t rejected by online filtering systems, include keywords from the job description and tailor the resume to be specific for each application.

It’s all in the details

Save all documents as PDF files so all the formatting isn’t altered when a recipient opens it on their computer, iPad or mobile device. Have you ever opened up a word document on the iPhone and tried to print it? It’s not always pretty. Name these files as “First Name_Last Name Resume” so that the recipient doesn’t have to shuffle through the unnamed “Resume” files left behind.

If at all possible, the best way to really show an applicant can pay attention to the highest of details, including the contact’s name in the salutation shows that a little research was done to go beyond the extra mile. Don’t ever address anything with “To whom it may concern.” Those emails or cover letters go directly to the trash.

Follow instructions

It certainly reflects poorly if directions aren’t followed. For one of my first interviews, I was instructed to enter the building through a side entrance instead of from the main entrance. No questions asked; I did as told.

My interviewer remarked on the fact that many people don’t follow instructions. Don’t be one of those people.

The basics

As graduates apply for these entry-level jobs, they should make note of what each of these companies does specifically and what makes them different from the rest. At the lowest level, every job applicant should have a basic understanding of the work that a company does.

Read through a company’s website and make note of what its specialties are and what services it offer. Don’t be another clueless applicant who is only applying for the job for the sake of applying. This wastes not only your time, but the potential employer’s time as well.

Know how to spell a company’s name. It doesn’t look good on an applicant if they couldn’t take an extra 15 seconds to Google the spelling of a company’s name and make sure it’s correct.

Proofread numerous times before hitting send. Typos are inexcusable in a job application. It’s a red flag for sloppy work, carelessness and a lack of professionalism.

As soon as I press submit on my first application, the rest will be like clockwork. I’ll be churning out one application after another in hopes of landing that first interview or garnering interest from one of these public relations firms.

I scan over everything once more. I push “submit,” and it’s the waiting game from here.

Opinion columnist Gemrick Curtom is a public relations senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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