on job applications and interviews

I’m not an expert on hiring practices, but I’ve managed to gain some experience on the hiring process—-particularly the applicant weeding process.

Here are a few things I have learned:

  • Your resume and cover letter are the first impressions you will make. These had better be easy to understand and clearly organized. If you lack experience, make your education stand out (especially if it is relevant to the job). If your education is not what is required for the position, your experience has to shine. Find your strong point and make the connection to the position clear, whether this involves citing specific coursework that might help you perform job duties, or volunteer work that helped you learn skills that you can apply in the position if hired.


  • Yes, you need a cover letter. No exceptions. If you lack education, experience, or both, your cover letter can help you get a chance at an interview. This should clearly explain why you are a good candidate and what you can bring to the position and the  organization. Any skills or knowledge that you want to emphasize should be highlighted here, especially if they can make up for a lack in other areas.


  • If you get an interview, be prepared to talk about yourself. If you are lucky enough to get an interview, you really do need to make the most of it. Know what you wrote in your resume and cover letter. Know what the job entails and what the organization is trying to achieve (study the job post and the hiring company’s website). But most important of all, be ready to make it clear that you are the right person for the job, not just because you have the right credentials, but because you will be a good fit within the group. If you are being engaged in conversation, go with it, don’t clam up and give terse answers. An awkward interview can really destroy your chances.

I’m not an expert in human resource management or organizational behavior, but I’ve been exposed to administrative tasks, and the hiring process is one of them. I’ve seen some strange things in my time…


I got the job! And the best part is that it was the one I really wanted :).

I have been applying for jobs for months, even before I quit the teaching gig, and getting no reply (to be expected in this economy). Most of the jobs I applied for were administrative assistant gigs, as there are not many non-teaching jobs for English majors at the moment and I am not looking for anything too permanent so long as I’m between programs. Since I am trying to get into a library science program, I really wanted a library gig, but most positions required years of experience for full-time openings and many of the part-time ones were located miles from where I live and paid less than I earn for tutoring (didn’t want to quit tutoring for something that will result in more travel expenses and less pay). Then I found a part-time opening near my home at a small technical college that would allow me to continue working at my current job and offers me the same wage (so it’s almost like I have a proper full-time job!).

And I got it!

I received a promising email from the head librarian and she seemed to like my response, then the interview was going so well that halfway through I knew that I was going to be offered the position :).

It looks like it will be a nice fit. I liked the environment and the library is small enough that I will almost be like an actual librarian.

Am ecstatic and so glad that I will finally be doing something that I am truly interested in.

no job. lots of bills.

Not only is it worrisome enough to think that I will be entering the job market during an economic crisis, apparently Florida (and esp. South Fla) is one of the absolute worst locations for potential employment in the country. So, a) I am out of a proper job until I finish my thesis, b) I may not find a proper job for some time to come, c) good thing I live with my parents or I would be evicted. And… because as a TA I made squat this year, my earnings were too small to merit an economic stimulus. This makes absolutely no sense to me. Couples, as usual, are rewarded for being married while singles only receive a bonus if they earned enough to begin with?! Shouldn’t this boost go to people who really need the cash (like impoverished students with ridiculous tuition fees, attending a school that is sinking under its own economic crisis)?

Bad situation all around.