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    Overcoming Barriers to Employment When Applying for Jobs

    So you’re looking to apply for a job. This process can be overwhelming, but keeping these tips in mind can help make it much easier.

    You are essentially selling yourself on paper (or virtually). The job application process is very step-by-step and can easily be approached from different angles, depending on who you are and what you want to do. Here are a few general points to keep in mind.

    1. Create a generic template, creating this will simplify the job application process because this template will involve the basic things most job applications include.
    • Your name, current address.
    • List of former employers and/or references.
    • Special skills, interests.
    • Your availability throughout the week.
    • Whether you wish to be a part time (20hrs/week) or full time employee (40hrs/week).
    1. Think of references, people who can recommend you for the job or previous employers who would have positive things to say about you as an employee. You should contact them ahead of time to ask if you can list them as a reference. For the application you will need:
    • Their first and last name.
    • Their email address and a contact number.
    • Their relation to you.
    1. Your reason for applying is one of the most important sections of the job application. Remember: You are selling yourself on paper. The person hiring may have never met you before, so it is your job to communicate the type of person you are on paper. You should be genuine in your response to this question because it may come up again when you earn an interview. Make sure:
    • There are no typos in your response; have a few people look over your grammar.
    • You are truthful in your response; give answers you can remember.
    • You list reasons that would be relevant to the work you will be doing.
    1. Do you have any barriers to employment? Fair or not, discrimination exists, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your job search; you may find it helpful to consider some of these strategies:
    2. Many job applications will ask for the status of your citizenship. You should answer truthfully, as they will require proof of your status later in the hiring and onboarding process. Refer to an I-9 sheet to see which forms of proof are acceptable for most employers. Keep in mind:
    • Not all jobs require U.S. citizenship, so do not let that discourage you.
    • A permanent resident card is acceptable; refer to the I-9 sheet.
    • Have your Social Security number memorized if applicable as you will need it often.
    • Know your alien registration number if you have that instead.
    • Have another pair of eyes look over your application before turning it in. When you ask more than one person look over your application it helps to lower the chances of missing errors on your application and likely to makes your application stronger. Look for:
    • Spelling errors
    • Completion of all fields
    • Signature and date on the application

    Seeking a job is a lengthy process, so make sure you set aside enough time to properly seek and apply for the job you deserve. Breaking down the application and keeping the tips above in mind will work in your best interest. Stay positive and persistent for the best results.

    Christalle Hasabumutima
    Christalle Hasabumutima is currently a third year psychology major biology, minor attending Howard University. She serves as an intern for the mission advancement department at Goodwill Industries International (GII). During the course of her internship she will be working to leverage digital tools, such as Goodprospect, to help advance GII’s institutional knowledge of the best methods to integrate digital tools into mission service delivery.
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