If you’re reading the job ads everyday and applying immediately to every post that interests you, stop. Or rather, slow down. Before you fire off that application, take the time to analyze it thoroughly, take notes, and set aside several days to work on your resume and cover letter. A rushed job will increase the error rate, and get you tossed out of the running. Here’s what I recommend (if you don’t have too close a deadline):

1. Print out the ad, write down the source where you found it, and start a list of links. Store in a job search folder under the company name.

2. Go through the posting with a highlighter pen, and highlight the skills, education, and traits of the company’s desired applicant.

3. Update your resume to immediately demonstrate you meet those requirements. Include a list of accomplishments that show how you helped your former employer make and/or save money, improve customer service, or anything else that made you stand out.

4. Find out who the hiring manager is and address your cover letter to that person. State in the cover letter why you want to work for this company and how you found out about it.

5. Don’t send it yet. Wait 24 hours (if time allows) and then proofread it carefully. Make any necessary corrections.

6. When finally submitting the application, send along warm vibes, or good wishes, or a positive prayer if you prefer.

7. Exhale. Give thanks, and keep applying for other jobs while you wait for a response.