Craft a Job Application Strategy that WORKS

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On the Break Your Budget Blog, I dive deeper on all the topics we discuss over on my socials; from personal finance, to navigating your career, and starting a side hustle. Plus, I share my routines, habits, hobbies, and favorites things!

Hi, I'm Michela!

The job market is … tough at the moment. And it has been for a while.

Between massive layoffs, return-to-office mandates, high inflation and an uncertain economy, despite the labor market appearing strong, it hasn’t been a candidates market for quite some time. 

And if you’ve been laid off and are seeking a new job, or are not happy at your current job and are scared about your prospects of finding a new one, it can feel like you’re facing an uphill battle. 

While there are so many external factors making finding a new job a challenge at the moment, I always recommend to live by the motto: focus on what you can control.

And today, I am going to share how you can craft a job application strategy that will not only help you stand out in the job market, but ensure that you’re applying to jobs that you actually want.

Instead of applying to a million different jobs and seeing what sticks (which isn’t a bad strategy.. it’s just not optimal for this market), you’ll instead learn how to target the right jobs and cater your application accordingly.

Here’s what we’re covering: 

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Job Research and Specified Targeting

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Crafting an Individualized Application

πŸ‘‰πŸ» Preparing for the Interview

Let’s dive in! (and don’t forget to order OWN YOUR CAREER!)


Goal: Identify your ideal employers and target roles. 

Before you start applying to jobs, ask yourself the following questions:

✍🏻 What is your GOAL of the job search? (experience, more money, work-life balance, etc)

✍🏻 What season of your career are you in? (advancement, balance, transformation)

✍🏻 What is my target salary range for this search?

With the answers to these questions, you can narrow down and identify both companies and roles that fit your needs.Β 


Goal: Create a tailored application for the role (without a ton of additional legwork)

Now that you’ve identified target companies and roles to begin applying for, you need to properly highlight your skillset for each specific type of job. 

For example, if you’re applying to two types of roles, let’s say Influencer Marketing roles and Brand Manager roles, you’d want to have 2 versions of your resume available; one that is catered towards Influencer Marketing and one that is catered towards Brand Manager roles. 

Here’s what you need to do:

✍🏻 Highlight the skills you possess that are related to the roles you are applying for 

✍🏻 List out any additional skills related to the role you’re applying to that you may not have (or need to develop)

✍🏻 Use the X-Y-Z Formula to craft resume bullet-points that highlight your related skills and how they can translate to this new role.

Learn more about the X-Y-Z Formula via my free Resume Template!


Goal: Create an Interview Rolodex to stay confident during the process. 

Once you’ve applied to relevant jobs using your optimized resume with X-Y-Z bullet points, you’ll need to confidently interview to land the offer. 

Interviewing can be intimidating and scary, especially if there is a lot at stake and you’re really vying for a position. To mediate the nerves, I recommend preparing an Interview Rolodex, which is a simple document you create with multiple examples of answers to common behavioral questions. 

A few common behavioral questions include: 

β€œTell me about a time when…”

πŸ‘‰πŸ» you had to work with a difficult team member

πŸ‘‰πŸ» you encountered a complex problem at work. How did you handle it?

πŸ‘‰πŸ»you had to communicate information to a team with varying levels of expertise?

When you have multiple examples of answers to these types of questions, during the interview you can β€œflip” through your Rolodex and find the right example to use for the question.

This way, you are never caught off guard and since you have spent time crafting your stories in advance, you can easily and clearly articulate your answers with poise.Β 

Learn more inside Own Your Career!

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