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""All your hard work has paid off! You’ve networked, you’ve searched listings, and you’ve found a job you’re interested in.

We’ve already covered what to do before you launch your job search and how to find a job that’s right for you. Now, the third part of the Job Search Resources blog series will take you through the application and interview process — the final steps on your quest to land a great job.

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD) and the Department of Career Services (DCS) offer plenty of tips to help you catch an employer’s attention and ace the interview.

Make a Good Impression in the Application

A job application — whether on paper or online — is as important as your resume. It’s another chance to make a good impression and show an employer that you’re the right person for the job. DCS offers these tips for filling out a job application:

  • Read it carefully and follow the instructions.
  • Write neatly if it’s a paper application.
  • Watch your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Don’t leave anything blank.
  • Make sure all the information is accurate.

Don’t Forget the Cover Letter

Unless the job listing specifically says not to, make sure to include a cover letter with your resume and application. Think of a cover letter as a way to introduce yourself to an employer — it’s often the first thing they read.

In the cover letter, show your interest in the position and highlight the skills that make you the perfect candidate for the job. If you’ve been sending out one job application after another, you may be tempted to use the same cover letter each time. But don’t forget, this is the company’s first impression of you. Make sure to keep it fresh and adapt your cover letter for each job, telling them why they need you for this position. Here are some tips for writing an effective cover letter:

  • Address the letter to a specific person if you can.
  • Include your contact information.
  • Express your energy and enthusiasm.
  • Explain how your skills relate to the job.
  • Be brief — write three or four paragraphs at most.
  • Proofread for typos.

Ace the Interview

An interview is a chance to sell yourself and your skills. It’s also an opportunity to learn more about the job and the company. Your first interview may be with a screener over the phone to see if you’re a good fit for the job. But even if the interview isn’t with the hiring manager, take it seriously. Preparation is key, so follow these tips for a successful interview:

  • Check the company’s website and other sources like news stories or an annual report to learn more about the business.
  • Prep examples that showcase your strengths and any specific skills the employer is looking for.
  • Think about questions you might be asked and practice the answers.
  • Write down questions to ask that show your interest in the job and the company.

On the day of the interview:

  • Dress professionally and arrive early.
  • Bring extra copies of your resume.
  • Be confident! Smile, maintain eye contact, and give direct answers.
  • Take your time answering questions, and ask for an explanation if you don’t understand something.
  • Don’t forget to send a thank you note or email after the interview.

Not every interview will lead to a job offer, so treat each one like a learning experience. You’re practicing your pitch, and before long you’ll land a great job.

This concludes our blog series on job search resources. Do you have questions about applying for jobs? Ask us! Comment below or tweet @MassGov.

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