To apply or not to apply, that is the question.

It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” - Roy Disney

Making the decision to apply, or not to apply, for an advertised job can be a difficult one. There are many factors to take into consideration and sometimes the evaluation process can feel overwhelming. The fact that you are considering making an application is an indicator that something about the job title, job description, or company captured your interest.

If you are actively looking for work you likely have a list of criteria you take into consideration when evaluating job opportunities:

  • Job description – How closely do your knowledge, skills, abilities, qualifications, etc match with what the job requires?
  • Responsibility / accountability – Are you comfortable with the level of responsibility / accountability associated with the job?
  • Accessibility – What are the hiring practices of the employer? Are they inclusive and respectful of diversity?
  • Size of organization / number of employees – Is your preference to work for a small, medium, or large sized business?
  • Work environment – Do you have a preference for a union or non-union work environment, indoor or outdoor work environment, physical or sedentary work environment?
  • Organization reputation – Would you be proud to tell your friends and family you are working for the particular organization? Do they have a reputation for being fair, honest, environmentally friendly, etc? Is there a match between your values and the organization’s values?
  • Hours of work – Do the hours and days of work fit with what you are looking for?
  • Job status – Are you looking for permanent, contract, full time, part time, casual, etc work? What opportunities exist for the job status to change in the future?
  • Compensation – How well does the pay, benefits, perks, etc for the position fit with what you are looking for? What is reasonable for the position, industry, location, etc?
  • Industry – How stable is the industry? What are the industry trends? What kind of reputation does the industry have?
  • Location – Does the job require you to work from one location or multiple locations? Is travel for work a requirement? Are postings and transfers a possibility for the position?

Evaluating your criteria in each of these areas will help you to decide if it is a job that you do indeed want to apply for. You may still have some questions but by applying you increase your chances of having a conversation about the position. If you don’t submit an application you may not have that opportunity. Making the decision to apply does not guarantee you an interview, or a job, but it does give you the opportunity to be considered. What have you got to lose by applying? If you are invited for an interview, and offered a position, you are not obligated to accept the position. Applying simply opens the door for a potential conversation and indicates to an employer your interest in them and the job.

A job advertisement rarely provides every detail about a job. When you don’t have all the information you need to make a decision about applying, or not applying, some research is in order. Consider the following options for getting answers to the questions you may have:

  • Visit the company website
  • Conduct an online search of the company
  • Ask people in your network if they are familiar with the organization and what they know about it
  • Talk to people who work for the organization about their experiences
  • Find out about the industry by reading articles and industry profiles
  • Find out about the job or occupation in general by reading occupational profiles
  • Review wage and salary information for jobs in the same industry and geographic region
  • Ask for a tour of the organization or a job shadow opportunity

More information about online resources for conducting research can be found in our December 2011 newsletter.

Depending on the closing date you may not have sufficient time to conduct thorough research about the job or the organization before applying. In these situations you need to make a quick decision based on the information you have available to you. Do you meet a reasonable percentage of the job requirements and qualifications? Is the position, based on your understanding if it from the job advertisement, in line with your “must have” criteria? Are you interested enough to put in an application and open up the opportunity for a conversation with the employer?

If you are applying for an advertised position it is important that you submit a quality cover letter and resume. See our September 2011 newsletter for tips and tricks to help you write a fantastic cover letter. Remember that your application should express your interest in the position; highlight your knowledge, skills, and abilities for the position; and demonstrate how you meet the qualifications so that you increase your chances of being shortlisted for an interview. An interview is an opportunity for you to check out the employer, and for the employer to check you out.

There are more job options available today than there have ever been. Now may be the time to consider different options. Do you remember what your mom told you about trying new food?
You can’t say you don’t like it until you have tried it!
Try new things. Meet new people. Step out of your comfort zone. Your perfect opportunity might be just around the corner.

For a FREE 30 minute job search consultation please feel free to contact Paula directly at or 780.589.2245.