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…