An often asked question in job hunting is how I apply for the job of my dream. People want interesting jobs, but in today’s tough labor market. That goal is increasingly out of reach for many job seekers. Today’s employers want relevant work experience more than ever, and they would almost always give preference to someone with very relevant work experience. That said, for you to apply for a job, you need to first ask yourself “Is my most recent work experience a good match to the job description?” If you think the match is over 60%, you should go ahead and apply for that job. If not, the odds for you to get the employers to call are very slim.
To give you a more realistic example: let’s say you used to work as an insurance underwriter. You are attentive, detailed-oriented, and analytical with excellent time management skills. You would think you are very qualified to be an event coordinator if not over qualified. Guess what, you most likely won’t hear anything from the employer. Why? Simply because you never worked in event planning, and you don’t have relevant work experience that other job candidates have. Even if you do get a phone call, it will be hard to pass the interview screening. However, if you apply for a business analyst job, you are very likely to get to call on the same day.
Thus, how you should apply for a job is to emphasize your relevant work experience on your resume and cover letter. Once you get the call, you can start preparing for interview questions and answers. If you are a new graduate, looking for your first job, you need to realize that your first job can set the course of your career for many years to come. You should be patient and more strategic on what to accept as your first job with long-term career goals in mind.
In your job search in this tough economy, you may have to apply for jobs that are similar to what you worked as. The job may not be the dream job, but you may something about the company: its product, its location, and/or its culture. You can always transition your job role within that new company. With very relevant work experience, you can expect over 50% success rate on passing the getting a call back.