January 2014

When applying for a job...

Contributor: Thomas Lavenir

 Career Advice picture

Since 2006, I have been hiring between 4 to 10 individuals every year to fill in the yearly vacant LINKer positions. As a result I have read over 200 application forms and interviewed over 100 individual to select the best student applicants.

Every year, I notice the same patterns. I have therefore decided to summarize for you some general tips and advice that should definitely help you next time you decide to apply for a job. So, whether you are applying for the LINK program or a full-time professional job, you need to:

Read the information carefully- Familiarize yourself with the job and the company that you want to work for by reading the job description and the company’s website carefully. The information that you will find will answer a lot of the questions you may have. Furthermore, you may even find some information that may be pertinent and worth using in the application/interview process.

Market yourself- This hint is one that you should always keep in mind when applying for a job. When completing application forms, writing a cover letter or answering interview questions you not only need to articulate/express how you possess the required qualities and experiences for the job but you always need to keep in mind that are many other individuals also applying for that same job. You need to demonstrate that you and your experiences are very unique. You need to be more specific and to elaborate...

Elaborate- As a general rule, you do not want to answer a question with just a few words. Write and answer with complete sentences and elaborate on your answers. In other words, making a statement like “I have a couple a experiences that make me an ideal candidate” is not enough in and of itself. You need to elaborate and give your potential employer more details. What are those experiences? Why do these experiences make you “an ideal candidate?”

Put yourself in your employer’s position- The information that you disclose may make a lot of sense to you but does it make sense to the person who reads your application form or cover letter? For example, some candidates for the LINK position stated that.“ The pay is also an incentive.” It might be true that earning money will be a nice bonus, but do you seriously think that this a convincing argument your potential supervisor wants to hear/know about?

If you are interested in this whole job-hunting topic, then I would advise you to consider several options:

  • The International Student and Scholar Services is organizing an International Student Career Day on Friday, January 24 afternoon. This program will give you the opportunity to learn more about resume writing, the job interview process, how the immigration policies will impact you. Moreover you will be able to connect with international alumni and to network with local community members.
  • Go to the Career & Academic Planning office located on the 2nd floor of Wilson Hall and check out their website to learn the many resources available to you
  • Feel free to come and to visit me. You and I can sit down and talk about what’s on your mind. E-mail me first.