As a former actor, I know applying for jobs is its own job. 90% of my time was spent auditioning, so applying for jobs became somewhat of a speciality.

Happily, I’m on the other side of the table now, and hope to share what I’ve seen on both sides. A few quick tips for landing that gig you really want:

  • Read directions. This very first step is where many folks fail. If a job description asks you to submit a resumé and brief cover letter, don’t send reference letters or lists or a CV (a very long detailed list of your previous employment). If a particular format is requested (PDF, Word, etc), stick to that if you can as well.
  • Form cover letters are bad. If all you’re doing when you apply to a different job is changing the name of the position you’re applying for and the organization name, people will notice. Also, if you forget to change one or the other, it could be embarrassing. Read the job description and tailor your cover letter to tell the story of why you’re the person for that specific job.
  • We want you to be the best. Don’t walk in the room deflated, expecting them to hate you. We need to fill that role and we’re hoping you are the perfect person to do it. That means you should ALWAYS put your best foot forward if you really want that gig.
  • Do some research. It’s 2014. Chances are you can learn about the organization and sometimes even the person doing the hiring. If you can send your resume to a person instead of “hiring manager” or “[email protected],” you’ll always be better off. Knowing some history of the organization or a tidbit about the person in your interview goes a long way.

More tips for landing that prize job? Share in the comments!