Preparing Your Application
Now that you’ve done your research and found a job you’d like to apply for, the following tips will help you prepare and submit your applications.
Completing an Online Application
Collect and organize information about your work history, education and references prior to filling out an application. Use the Application Worksheet as an example.
Allow enough time to complete an online application, and be prepared to be directed to a follow-up evaluation or assessment after submitting an application. You will need to create an account for each job board or company site that you apply on. Remember your usernames and passwords for job sites and email, and remember the answers to security questions. Without this information, you will not be able to recover passwords to access email or profiles on employment websites.
Writing a Resume
Your resume is not just a list of jobs that you have held. It should convey that you have the skills, traits, and experience that will enable you to contribute to the success of the company you’re applying to.
- Describe responsibilities with the formula Action Verbs + Details + Results.
- Use keywords and phrases from the job description.
- Most resumes should be 1-2 pages.
- List slightly more experience than the position requires.
- A Summary is better than an Objective. The focus is on what you can bring to the organization, not what you want.
- Only list your graduation year if it is recent or explains an employment gap, and only list GPA if it’s over 3.0.
- Keep a separate page for references, do not say “References Available Upon Request”.
- Resume Samples
- More Resume Samples
- Use O*NET Occupation Quick Search for ideas for your resume. The skills section has good action verbs and descriptions for most professions.
Resume Templates & Builders
Resume Template created by Job and Career Information Center staff
New York State Career Zone’s Quick Resume Builder
- Pros: No account required; easy to use; has information on action verbs & industry keywords; can download as Word file or PDF
- Cons: Formatting is a little basic; required fields for information not actually required on a resume (i.e. full company address)
Anne Arundel Community College Resume Builder
- Pros: Free account; suggests tasks and skills based on your job field; easy-to-read formatting; can download as Word File
- Cons: Will have to edit tasks to past tense; suggested skills not always strong
- Pros: Free; suggests tasks and skills based on job field; multiple templates to choose from
- Cons: Can only download as PDF or Text file (loses formatting); suggested skills not always strong
- University of Maryland Career Center’s guide to resume preparation.
- Career One-Stop’s resumes and interviews.
Writing a Cover Letter
A cover letter should:
- Be written specifically for each application.
- Amplify and reinforce (but not repeat) the sections of your resume that are relevant to the vacancy for which you are applying.
- Positively connect your previous experience to the open position.
- Explain why you are the best candidate for the position.
- Use this Cover Letter Worksheet to gather the information you need to write an effective cover letter, then use the Cover Letter Template to see how to use that information in a formal cover letter.
- Virginia Tech’s Cover letters: types and samples.
- Purdue University’s cover letter guide.
Before your interview, write down important information about the company and your experience on the Interview Preparation Worksheet. Look at the University of Maryland University College’s Interviewing Guide, or Purdue University’s What to Do During and After a Job Interview. Get an idea of what might be asked with a list of Typical Job Interview Questions.
If you would like to know more, try our Live Chat with a Librarian service, or contact us.