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3 Job Application Tips for Students and Recent College Grads

job application tips for recent college gradsIf you’re still in college or recently graduated, you might need some help finding a job.

Instead of feeling intimidated by the process, check out our top three job application tips and feel a little more confident about your chances of being hired.


The following tips are simple but essential, and may set you apart from the crowd.

1. Proofread All Job Application Materials

Whether you’re sending in a resume and cover letter or simply filling out a short online application, check your spelling and grammar. Silly mistakes are inexcusable, and will make it seem like you do not care about the position.

If you tend to have trouble with this, ask a friend — perhaps an English or Journalism major — to look over your documents before you send them in.

Believe it or not, many hiring managers simply throw out job application materials at the first sign of a typo, so it pays to take this tip seriously! It’s important enough that you might consider hiring a professional team to write your resume for you.

2. Know What Information to Include

If you have only had a few jobs, include them on your resume, even if they are not directly relevant to the position you want.

For example, if your only experience is working as a server for two years and you want to work in sales, the hiring manager might be impressed that you held a long-term position in college — even if it was in a different field.

You can also highlight the aspects of your job that still apply to your desired field. Be creative: A server needs to have great people skills, which is an excellent trait for a salesperson.

On the other hand, if you have held multiple positions over the years, don’t put them all on your resume. Instead, choose the top few that you feel are most relevant to the career you want.

Be especially sure to leave out irrelevant jobs that you only held for a few months. Your summer job at the movie theater is less important than your internship.

You may also want to include special skills in your resume, or your job application might ask about them.

Keep in mind these should be relevant to the job, so leave out your hobbies, no matter how special they might be. Here’s a tip: Juggling, relaxing with friends and playing video games are not exactly impressive to hiring managers, while graphic design, developing apps and writing often are.

3. Be Professional from Start to Finish

Using slang when you write your cover letter or resume is never acceptable. In fact, make sure your language is appropriately formal in all application materials, including any emails you send.

Maybe sometime in the future you will feel comfortable enough to place an emoticon or internet acronym in an email to a coworker or manager, but the hiring stage is not the time to do it.

Similarly, if you heed these and other job application tips and obtain an interview, make sure you wear the appropriate clothing. If the hiring manager does not tell you whether the dress code is business professional or business casual, you can err on the side of caution with more conservative dress.

But at same time, dress for the part when you have a job interview. If you’re interviewing for a business management position, you should dress more formally than you would for a job as a bartender.

Finally, one of the job application tips many people ignore is to send a thank you note after the interview. This can help you stand out in the mind of the hiring manager, and it also shows you are very interested in the job.

Do you have any job application tips of your own that seemed to help you get the position you wanted?

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