When you apply for any job, there is going to be an application and hiring process. Before you complete this process or even start it, it’s always important to take your time and follow the directions posted.
Growing up, following the rules was a highly promoted principles. The importance of following directions often became less important over time though. People who have been innovative in their field often made an impact because they thought creatively and weren’t afraid to make their own path.
Following directions doesn’t always mean that you’re stifling a chance to grow or develop though. Remember back to lab classes when the directions were there not only for the experiment results but also for general safety? Directions can be stifling but they may also be a way to prevent errors and lead to worse outcomes.
Pushing Back as the Norm
When it comes to higher education, independent thinking and creative ideas are often normal. Arguing with professors and fellow students is not only expected, but it is also encouraged. Pushing back against the norm is often seen as being a positive mindset.
However, this idea does not mean that you’re still not following the rules. In education, you’re still expected to meet certain guidelines, attend class, turn in classwork, and perform other duties of your role. It does not excuse students from any responsibility in their field.
Similarly, job searching may have some creativity but it’s likely going to be somewhat limited. Job applications and going through the hiring process can be an incredibly complex process. Some jobs involve multiple interviews, asking candidates to come up with presentations, and selling themselves to the company. This is certainly an area where creativity and thinking innovatively is going to make a difference. For example, applying to a job at a marketing firm may involve these skills just to test if you have the ability to be creative.
However, this does not mean that you can’t follow some directions in the process. For example, directions on interview time, dress requirements, and other basic elements can and should be followed. If you show up to an interview an hour later, that’s not only skipping the directions but also is going to make you look like a poor candidate.
Following the Right Rules
If you’re not sure what rules you should follow and which ones to take some creative license, then you’re best off reading through the application process, job description, and any other materials which are posted for the job itself. If you read through the application process and don’t understand the specifics, then don’t be afraid to ask. Most recruiters or companies will welcome the chance to provide additional insight into what they expect from candidates.
One reason to take your time to read through instructions, and follow directions is to ensure that your application is even considered. Not all jobs are highly competitive, but many of them are today. In some specialized fields, there may be hundreds of job candidates for a single position. It’s easy to make a mistake or forget to include something that the application requests such as required experience or similar. Hiring managers want to find a candidate but also don’t want to sift through hundreds of resumes. When they find errors, then they’re quick to discard extra candidates. Being meticulous with your application is the best way to ensure that you actually are considered.
Making a First Impression
When you finally get to the interview, following the basic directions is going to help you make a good first impression. You should practice what you’re going to say and also give full attention to the team interviewing you. Make sure that you research the company and see if there are any materials listed regarding people who have interviewed there before. For example, if you’re working at a marketing firm, look into some of their previous campaigns so that you can be knowledgeable in the interview.
While not all of us are natural rule-followers, it’s important to follow directions when it comes to achieving your dream job. When you’re willing to be a meticulous direction-follower for your application and interview, you set yourself up to having the best chance of getting a job offer.