Applying for a new job can be stressful. Thoughts about saying the right things in the way, putting the right things in a resume, leaving the right things out, etc. Circumstances for leaving a previous job may add extra pressure, too. For many people, it can be a lot.
I was thinking about that as we opened up a job at Focus Lab recently. I wanted to offer some pro tips for those planning to apply, so I shared them on social media. After seeing how helpful that was to some folks, I decided to capture the tips here as well.
It’s worth noting that while some of these tips might feel like they apply elsewhere, I’m specifically talking about the context of my agency, Focus Lab. There may be certain points below that are neutral or even bad ideas with other employers.
Okay, let’s dig in.
Tell us about yourself as a person, not just your career history. We’re often more interested in getting to know about you in ways that go beyond your past achievements or your current capabilities.
Don’t sweat overemphasizing degrees, certifications, etc. You’re welcome to mention them and how they’ve been a part of your journey or contributed to your skills, of course. But we don’t put a ton of weight on those merits alone.
Read through our website’s About and Careers pages. We believe you should be interviewing us just like we’re interviewing you. You can interview us better if you know about us. We only want you to join Focus Lab if this will be a great place for you to work. It’s very important to us to hire people who are the right fit for the role and the company. In most small organizations, an incorrect hire is a mistake felt across the company. And accepting a bad job offer is often felt across a household. We aim to spend enough time with applicants to know the fit is great in both directions.
No one at Focus Lab is perfect. Don’t stress about appearing perfect in your application or interviews. Just be yourself.
Be sure to read the entire job posting. You’ll probably notice something strange that we ask you to address. That’s helping us realize you’ve read the post in full.
Check out our Core Values as a company (see #3 above). Do they resonate with you? Tell us why and be specific. This is one way we can mutually learn if this is a good fit.
Be patient. It’s not uncommon for us to have triple-digit applicants for a single position. We put a lot of care and intention into our hiring process which means there can be gaps in time between communication. Don’t assume the worst if you haven’t heard from us in a week+ at certain points.
Don’t shy away from applying a second time. We’ve had multiple people join our team after not making it their first time around. The hardest part of this process for us is when we have to say “no” to great people.
Go forth and apply! 🙌🏻
© 2023 Erik Reagan unless otherwise noted
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