I would like to think that I am pretty well-versed when it comes to applications. I have had my fair share of applying for schools, fellowships, jobs and grants. Which after all of those applications there are a few things that you can do NOW to make your life easier when you prepare to apply for anything.

So here is another edition of my College Advice, even though this is life advice in general or at least life advice when you're looking for a job.

  1. Have your Resume up-to-date and have people (yes, plural not a person) review it. Having an up-to-date resume will save you time/stress for those moments when you have a short time frame before closing dates on things. It is so helpful for me to have my resume that has been reviewed/corrected/re-reviewed on hand for the instances when a new job opening comes up (early bird gets the 'job'?) or when I find a fellowship with a closing date in a few days. Being prepared and ready for such an important document such as your resume is step one in getting a job/grant/fellowship/whatever you're applying for.

  2. Have a list of people that you know would recommend you for positions aka your make a PROFESSIONAL REFERENCES LIST. Applying for things in the real world means having your mom/aunt/third cousin on your list of contacts is not ok. Having your college advisor, your internship mentor, or someone else who you've worked with is who you want to have your references. Make sure to have their name, position title, address, phone number and email handy for when your applying.

  3. Have a draft of a Cover Letter for the TYPE of positions your applying for. Having a basic outline to go by will save you tons of time when applying for things. This cover letter will change based on the position/company/fellowship that you are applying for, but the basics of your experience/career goals/ past research are all the same. I currently have cover letters ready for jobs, fellowships, and PhD programs all ready to go all I have to do is tweak each one to where/what I am applying for.

  4. Have your college transcripts, even if they are unofficial saved on your computer. There are many times that an application asks for these and having them on my computer already saved has made it so much easier than going through the process every time I go to apply for things.

  5.  Plan out a checklist of what is required for the application that includes: documents needed (Resume, Cover Letter, Transcripts, Passport, etc.), Application Due Date, References (do they need a list or do they want an official letter before you apply), Position information that your applying for ( what makes you a 'fit' for this position) and lastly the contact information for who/where you are applying. Knowing all of this will make the stress of multiple applications seem much more manageable because you will know everything that is required without having to look it up over and over again.