Applying for a job is an interesting process. When you are writing the cover letter, adjusting the resume, and emailing or posting the application, a smart part of you starts mentally shifting from where you are to where you want to be. Imagining yourself in that office, that factory, or that rail yard as the case may be, you start to picture yourself there.
Can you smell the diesel from the trains, feel the grime on your hands, feel the frost of a late fall morning as you breathe the cool air into your lungs? What about the satisfaction you’ll be feeling as the first car rolls off the assembly line on the wheels you affixed? Can you see the well-intended ribbing and hear the chuckles from the rest of the team who have rolled off thousands of cars but still remember the joy you now feel finishing off your very first one?
Okay, those are some pretty small but cool moments. Picturing yourself in those situations, or indeed whatever situation will fit in your own case, can actually help you move forward. One thing it will do for you is spark some real sincere interest in the job. If you picture yourself in the job you’ve applied for, presumably you are happy and deriving satisfaction from the image. You may well be on to something here if you were asked why you are applying for the job. Maybe part of your answer would be to speak to the satisfaction the job would bring, and as you talk about this, if you really picture it and are being honest, your facial expression will communicate that excitement and happiness.
You may also want to start thinking about what you might need to get off to a good start in the job. If you’ve got boots, work clothes and tools, now might be the right time to check them over for wear and tear, sharpen and polish tools of the trade etc. You might find that what you thought was in good repair needs replacing. Could you make use of your time and do these things now rather than wait until you start the next day and then find you have to scramble?
On another line, some people apply for jobs and then everything seems to stop. They cease applying for other jobs and put all their hopes in the single one they’ve applied to. Sitting at home, they just wait for the phone to ring and get frustrated when it doesn’t happen as quickly as they’d like it to. They have no clue what’s going on at the company, and really, the Hiring Manager could be on vacation for two weeks while they are pacing around in their homes becoming increasing ticked off at the company for not calling them.
One important thing to do when applying is make contact to ensure that your application has in fact been received by the right people. Some of those I’ve worked with in the past have actually neglected to attach resumes to emails, and without checking, would be otherwise under the impression that all is well. And would it be so difficult to follow-up your application with a phone call to ask about the actual interview schedule? If you learned that indeed the Hiring Manager was off for two weeks and nothing would happen until her return, you could mentally relax a little, and focus in the short-term on other possibilities.
Having applied for a job, a good idea is also to record several key bits of information you have learned about the company and the position. Setting this aside in a place you can access easily will prove invaluable if you do get a call and end up having an impromptu phone interview. Even if you arranged an interview for the next day or two, this quick reference material will refocus your energy quickly, especially if your mind has just been on other opportunities.
Please do keep job searching. While it is great to have applied for a job you really want, there are any number of other applicants doing the same thing. So in a game of numbers, the more you apply to, the better your odds of landing a job. A good mix of high quality applications and quantity of applications works best. Get organized and record all the jobs you apply to on a single spreadsheet or paper. Headings you might want to use could include: date of application, position, company, contact information, closing dates, dates for followup, results, thank you’s sent, etc.
If it’s been a long time since you’ve had an interview, you really should be doing some reading up on and some practicing of your skills. Typically interviews want to know why you are a good fit, what you’ll bring to the organization, how your skills and experience can increase productivity, how you’ll impact on the chemistry of the workplace with others. They may also want to know about your past employment, any volunteer work you do, your pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses, your availability, attitude, enthusiasm for the work ahead, commitment, problem resolution style and interpersonal skills. Be prepared to talk about all these things, and if you don’t get asked, so be it; but you were ready.
Lastly, think about what you want to know more of regarding the job. These questions may be what you pose to the interviewer.