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What to do AFTER applying for a job


When you apply online to a job, do you receive a phone call from a recruiter? If you are waiting and waiting only to receive the dreaded rejection email weeks or months later, your application probably wasn’t even reviewed. Here are five actions to take after applying for a job.


1. Find a connection. If you don’t know anyone at the company, seek out a friend or colleague who has a connection to a recruiter at the company or find a recruiter at the company. You cannot just apply online and expect a response. Recruiters only look at the first 20-30 applications. If you are not one of the first people to apply, recruiters may never see your application. See my HBR article on how to reach out to a recruiter. Finding the recruiter or a contact at the company will give you a better chance of your resume and/or LinkedIn profile being reviewed.


2. Set up your interview space. Is the lighting good? Is your background set up well? Do you have a good internet connection? If you have Zoom or any other online video program for work, check out your background while you are on work calls to make sure you look professional and feel good about your lighting at all times of day, especially if you are relying on natural light.


3. Practice. Practice. Practice. Do not wait for a recruiter to reach out to start practicing for your recruiter screen or interview. Ask a friend to interview you in person or on a video call. Are you answering in the STAR(T) or CARL methods? Are you succinct and answering each question in under two minutes? Are you showing some personality while also conveying the value you can bring to the role? Are you uncomfortable? What can you do to be more comfortable? The more you practice, the more comfortable you will feel in delivering your message on the value you can bring to the role, and the more natural you will sound answering each question.


4. Prepare your psyche. If you’ve been interviewing for a while, and not had any traction, you may feel dejected. Do not emotionally reason that since you haven’t been successful before, you will NEVER be able to secure the next role. You will. It may take time, but you will find your perfect fit. Prepare your psyche for each individual role.


I’m a big believer of playing a song that energizes you—not the one that gets stuck in your head but the song that makes you want to tap your feet or get your dance on. For me it’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” (Queen), “Confident” (Demi Lovato), “Just like Fire” (Pink), “Fighter” (Christina Aguilera), or anything Lizzo like “Good as Hell.” Get your energy up and your groove on!


It only takes one job, one right fit, one person to believe in you. Believe that the next interview is the right fit. If it doesn’t turn out that way, then the job was not a perfect fit even if you thought it was. Remember, until you work at a company and a particular team, you don’t understand culture, team dynamics, or the intangibles a hiring manager may be looking for that are not listed on the job description.


5. Keep applying for jobs. Never stop applying for roles even if you are in final rounds of interviewing for the one job you know is the “perfect job” for you. You have no idea who the other candidates are, whether someone internal has applied for the role, or whether you will come in second, even if you feel great about all of your interviews. You don’t have the job until you have the offer in writing, you have accepted it and if applicable, your background check clears. Therefore, no matter how great you feel about any particular role, keep looking and applying for all relevant jobs. You can always pull out of any interview process if you accept an offer at another company.


If your application isn't seen, you can't be hired. With a little diligence, you can ensure your resume and LinkedIn profiles will be seen by recruiters and hiring managers.


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