A few posts ago, I was talking about the reasons behind my very long absence from the blogging world, and one of the things I mentioned was my looking for a job or internship. In this post I will share the most important 5 things to consider when applying for a job, based on my experience.
As I have mentioned before, my university requires each student to work for a number of hours, which number, if not reached, prevents the student from graduating.
That’s right. One could have straight As (or 10s, as we use marks from 1 to 10) but fail to graduate because s/he did not meet the internship hours requirement. Therefore, it is not surprising that professors tend to nag their students so that they don’t forget about the internship hours and as a result, they have to look for a job or an internship program that would fit their needs.
Yet sometimes there are companies which come and visit universities on campus in search for students interested in working with them. Other times, students must seek and decide for themselves which job/internship they should apply for.
I, for example, had to find my own. And it’s not because I wasn’t good enough to be selected by the visiting companies. No. It is because I decided to focus on studying during the school year and to work during summer.
However, since I went through a nasty internship experience once, everything became extremely difficult for me as I suspected all companies of mistreating their employees/interns. As a result, I tried not to make the same mistakes twice and thus I made a list of the most important things to look at when applying for a job or internship position.
In a way, I began to regret my decision of searching for various opportunities on my own, especially since most of my classmates enrolled in an internship program during the school year and everything went fine. But it was too late going back.
So I started looking for a job on a few job advertising sites. (In truth, the whole job-seeking-mission began before the school year even ended.)
At first, I simply checked for job offers from time to time, without getting an account on any website, but later on, I found myself forced to subscribe and get an account on one of the sites, since it made my job application process easier.
After many fights with myself in an attempt to reassure my brain (and heart) that not all companies are bad, I grabbed my list of the main points to consider when applying for a job and went hunting.
In short, this is what I did, and what I advise you to do too. Believe me, even if it seems to be common knowledge, sometimes it so happens that it is all forgotten and the real drama begins.
1. How was the ad crafted? (OMG! A typo!)
Once logged into my account (but even as a guest visitor), I thoroughly analyzed the texts of the job advertisements I was interested in, meaning that I looked for any sort of error, typo, lack of diacritics, anything that would strain the writing. I believed (and still do) that if one company truly respects itself and its employees, it would pay extra attention to the crafting of their job ads.
Of course, all those ads which lacked diacritics, contained any sort of error, or lacked/misplaced punctuation marks, were taken off the list.
2. What kind of email address do they have? (Hi there, buddy!)
The next thing I did was to check their contact details, mostly the email addresses they wanted applicants to send their resumes to. One of the things that one bad experience taught me was that if a company uses email addresses like company1 (at) gmail.com, you must run as fast as you can.
So the lesson reads as follows: avoid any company that uses email addresses that incorporate numbers and/or the company’s name along with a Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo or any other similar email provider. More often than not, the ending is tragic. (I’m exaggerating.)
3. What is their website URL? (Oh, look! A blogging platform!)
A good idea would be to look at their websites too (if they have one, but in this time and age, they should). In my opinion, all companies should have their own custom domain as it comes to indicate their level of professionalism.
Nowadays, I am reluctant to giving any more chances to companies that own a free URL (subdomain). Naturally, all those were removed from the list (though none has gotten that far anyway).
4. Does their website look professional? (Let’s get to know each other better!)
Obviously, you will want to know whom you are going to work for so it is highly recommended that you pay their website a visit. Generally, when I am taking a look at a company’s website, I tend to check for errors (of any kind) and read their About page in an attempt to learn more about them. I also look at their location, if it corresponds with what is advertised, and at their contact details. If they have a blog, I am definitely checking that out too.
5. What does Google say about them? (Gimme all the dirty secrets you hide!)
One last step I took was to look them up on the internet. I tried to find out if there were any sort of scandals, lawsuits, bad experiences shared on forums, anything that would cast them in a negative light.
Don’t be too surprised if the results that pop are contradicting each other. Naturally, there will be people who will complain about their job or about their collaboration with the company they work for, and people who will praise their job/employer. As a result one should take everything with a pinch of salt.
Another thing I do, and which goes along the same lines, is asking Mr. Facebook about their ratings and reviews. I also
stalk check out their activity on Facebook and their posts. I look at their posts’ engagement, the number of people who hit the like button, the content of their posts, their description section, all that is made public, basically.
Bad news #1: some of them don’t have a Facebook page so you’ll have to content yourself with what you’ve found previously.
Of course, sometimes I also land on other websites which share some information about the companies I’m looking for. (There are some which tell you about their profit, number of employees and so on.)
Bad news #2: Sometimes it so happens that there is not much you can find on the internet about some companies. Or there are some on which no-one said anything.
At the end of this whole process, I try to balance the pros and cons, making use of all the information I could find on this wide web, and then finally make my decision.
All in all, this work is extremely tiring, strenuous and time consuming, but it’s worth it, I think. It helps me avoid all the fantastic scenarios that are playing in my head. (*Cough cough* Scams would be one.)
Does applying for a job also make you paranoid? (Or am I the only one?) What are the key points you’re looking at when applying for one?