Job Search Tips

6 things to do before you apply for your dream job

Written by Eric Titner

Any of us who have spent time on the job hunt trail have been here before: While checking out job boards and researching companies who are hiring in our industry, you come across the coveted dream job—a posting that’s so perfectly aligned to what you’re looking for in your next career step that you can almost convince yourself that it was tailored precisely for you.

Everything about it seems just right—a position with an industry-leading company who has a great reputation and culture, job responsibilities that really match what you’re looking to take on, and opportunities for lasting growth and success. In sum, what appears to be the perfect job. When we stumble across the dream job, we all know what happens next. A wave of anxiety washes over you like an unavoidable tsunami, with thoughts of all the great candidates who may have beaten you to the application punch, and fears that your window for applying may be closing and that your chances of getting the job may be slipping away with each passing moment.

Yeah, we’ve all been here before, and at this point, you’re going to be struck with the urge to frantically rush to apply for the job before it’s too late. This is precisely the point where careless and unprepared candidates slip up and make the sort of mistakes that prevent them from being taken seriously by hiring managers. Don’t be one of these people.

If you’re really intent on landing your dream job—or any job for that matter—then it’s in your best interest to slow down, take a moment, and make sure you take care of these 6 important things before applying.

Review the posting

Many candidates get so excited after reading a great job posting that they overlook key details, which often include specific instructions for how to apply. Rookie mistake—failing to comply with all application instructions can ruin your chances of being seriously considered for the position. Read the posting more than once to make absolutely sure that you have all of the details down cold.

Review your application materials

Sure, you want to get your resume and cover letter in for consideration before it’s too late, but incorrect, error-laden, or incomplete application materials are almost impossible to recover from. Trust us, taking the time to slow down and confirm, several times, that your materials are perfect and error-free is time well spent.

Tailor your approach

Having a canned cover letter and resume for every job posting you come across is not your best approach, and savvy hiring personnel are going to notice. Crafting your resume and cover letter for every position you apply for and highlighting why you’re the ideal candidate for each specific company is a much better strategy for grabbing attention and getting your foot in the door for interviews.

Answer the question “Why you?”

The scary truth of the job world is that there are tons of qualified candidates for every open position, and candidates who don’t clearly demonstrate why they should be considered from all those among the candidate herd have little chance of standing out from the crowd. Make sure your application materials showcase your full potential value and detail why you’re a candidate to be reckoned with and taken seriously.

Mind your social media

Many candidates become so laser-focused on getting their application and materials just right that they forget to mind the other details—like making sure their public social media doesn’t contain anything that may hurt their chances. Checking a candidate’s social media footprint is industry-standard today, so make sure that anything hiring managers and personnel can see reflects as positively on you like your cover letters and resumes do.

Don’t forget to re-review

It’s never a bad idea to take a little time to re-review your entire application package before sending it off to make sure it’s in perfect shape. If you can get a person you trust to review it with a fresh set of eyes, even better. Consider it a little extra insurance towards making sure that you’re doing everything you can to land an interview.

If you’re hot on the job hunt trail and eager to land your dream job, make sure you take care of the 6 key things mentioned here before clicking “Send” for any application you submit.

About the author

Eric Titner

Eric is a NYC-based editor and writer, with years of experience in career-focused content development across a wide range of industries.