Applying for your first job can seem like an alien task. Sure, you've had experience mowing the lawn and doing chores around the house, or maybe you used to babysit for a neighbor. But getting a full time gig is a more formal process. Most businesses have run the gamut when it comes to applicants, so you have to find ways to separate yourself from the stack sitting on the hiring manager's desk. "How do I do that?" you ask. Here are some tips for walking into a business to fill out an application:
Know what time is good to apply
Say there's a great Italian restaurant down the street where you'd like to work as a server during weekends. It's probably a huge red flag when you go in and ask for an application in the middle of their lunch or dinner rush. Find down time when you can go in and fill out an application without being a nuisance. This will also give you the opportunity to speak with a manager. Having face-to-face time with the person potentially hiring you will help make your application stand out.
Dress to impress
Sure you're just filling out an application, but you should dress professionally to show that you want the job. A first impression lasts, and frankly, appearance matters. Don't worry about being overdressed, because it's essentially an impossibility. (No tuxedos though!)
Fill out the entire application
Don't leave blank spaces on your application. Remember, this is your chance to shine. Read the instructions carefully and follow formatting requests. Don't try to embellish your experiences – instead, answer each question thoughtfully and honestly. It's better to put down a realistic, simple job title than trump it up to sound fancy. Avoid vague answers by focusing on concrete experience and affirmative responses. It's better to say no than to seem wishy-washy, and most employers will see answers like "ask at interview" as way of dodging the question. If a question is not relevant to you, fill in the answer space with "not applicable" or "N/A."
Keep the application clean
Don't just crumble up the application in your backpack and fill it out at home while you're eating. Applications that are wrinkled, folded or have stains on them look unprofessional. If you don't have time to fill out each application at the job location, have a binder ready to keep them organized and prevent them from losing that crisp look.