Demystifying the Job Application Process

 
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offer me a job After receiving a number of questions about the job application process, particularly within agencies, I finally decided to sit down with Heather Crowley, a recruitment specialist at my company, Edelman Public Relations, to shed some light on how it really works.

I’ve included a short summary of our discussion below.

What happens after I submit an application online?

The application actually goes directly to the inbox of an HR recruiter, then kicks back an auto-responder to the applicant to confirm that it has gone through successfully.

What if I don’t hear back right away?

Don’t be afraid to find someone within the company to reach out to and introduce yourself. Networking can only help you.

How long does it usually take HR to get back after an initial application is submitted?

This varies based on the position and timing of the need to hire. Timing may not allow the team to get back to everyone, but the application will stay on file for future needs that may arise.

If don’t hear back right away, how often should I check in to let the company know I’m still interested?

Once a month or once every three weeks, send a quick email to touch base and express your interest.

What can I do to make my resume stand out?

Proof read your resume and writing samples. It also helps to have a fresh pair of eyes review it before submitting. Check your contact information to make it is correct—if the HR team reaches out to you and the information isn’t correct, they may not reach out to you again.

Research the company and opportunity you are applying to, and point out any transferable skills or relevant experience that you’ve had within the industry—such as internships and involvement with a local PRSSA chapter.

What should I use for writing samples?

  • Press releases
  • College Newspaper stories
  • Blog entries
  • Short Stories

Keep samples to 2-3 pages maximum, and demonstrate that you understand AP style.

If I have graduated from college, will I still have to go through the internship program?

Even if you have your degree, don’t rule out the internship program. It’s a great way to network with the company, become comfortable with your role and gain hands-on experience so that you have the skills to hit the ground running when you become full time.

The majority of the larger firms have very hands-on internship programs that will allow you to pitch the media, help with events and promotions, etc.

What other misconceptions do you think people have about the application process?

Be conscious of the title and qualifications required for the position you are applying to. Out of college, you will most likely be applying to one of the following opportunities:

  • Internships
  • Assistant Account Executive
  • Account Coordinator

If I am interested in more than one opportunity, should I apply to all of them?

If you have done your research and find two or three positions that are relevant to your interests and skills, apply to them and then try to find someone within the company to follow up with. Be aware that each application will go directly to the recruiter’s inbox, so the recruiter sees each time you apply (so be thoughtful and don’t just apply to every available opportunity).

If I am contacted for an interview, what comes next?

Generally, you will get a phone call or email from the recruiter to set up an initial interview.

For the interview:

  • Do your research
  • Be open about the skills you can bring to the table

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