Applying for a job seems to be getting more complicated, especially when job seekers are hoping to make a successful on-line application. The key is to get your application past computer-based screening programs, and into the hands of decision-makers.
No easy feat.
Thankfully, there are some things job applicants can do to stand out from the herd, and make it to human eyes.
Knowing how to apply for work on-line is crucial important
It’s less common these days to hand paper resumes to prospective employers. The days of wearing a suit and tie to drop an application off with the secretary are coming to an end. Today, employers prefer on-line applications to allow rapid screening and quick interview choices. Resumes are scanned for key words that relate to the job description and employer needs, and those that make it through this filter are then screened by employers. Being able to make a great on-line application is important to getting your foot in the door, and knowing how to do it can be just as important as having a stunning resume.
There are some common errors applicants make when applying online
One is a making a sloppy application. Make sure you check your spelling and grammar, especially if you’re asked to provide a writing sample. Incomplete applications are also a no-no, as is rushing through them.
One applicant I spoke with was under time pressure. She was trying to apply for multiple jobs that had similar deadlines, and she attached the wrong cover letter to one application. Some company systems don’t provide a way to correct mistakes, making any errors irreversible.
Also, not tailoring your cover letter to the organization can make an applicant less attractive. Not using the right key words, r enough of them can cause issues as well.
Using the right key words in the application is critical
Key words are specific words you’ll find in the job description that describe what the employer is looking for. It’s important to include as many of them as possible in your application. They are found under headings like Necessary Skills or Competencies and sometimes appear in a list.
An applicant I spoke with put key words like Initiative and Analytical skills into her cover letter and resume. The job description also listed an ability to use Excel and Microsoft Office, so she made sure she used those words as well. Use all the key words you possibly can. Your application is being screened for these.
Getting your application in front of decision-makers can be difficult, but there are things you can do to get an edge
First of all, target specific organizations you’d like to work for. Research them before you apply and follow the job postings offered by your target organizations. Targeting preferred employers with great applications is better than applying to many different positions with sub-par applications that will never reach human hands.
Sign up for job notices so you’ll be emailed directly by the company with job opportunities and information if they have that option. Get Google to send alerts when the company you like posts a job, and consider reaching out to the organization!
Emailing for advice can yield positive results if done well. Ask about what kind of experience they value and ask employees if you can have an information interview. Speaking to someone in the organization about the job can net tips to create a great application.
But it doesn’t end there, there are more things applicants can do
- Applying through Monster or SimplyHired can be less effective than applying directly to the company. Jobs get posted on these sites as part of hiring campaigns, and the same goes for LinkedIn. But try to go directly through the company.
- Watch out for using auto-fill functions, since it will instantly insert your information, accurate or not.
- Get a friend to check your application for accuracy. And follow the employer’s instructions to the letter.
- It can be disheartening to apply to lots of companies without knowing if the application is even looked at. So take breaks when applying to multiple places.
- Be ready to research what pay you could expect. Some companies ask applicants for their ideal salary at the time of application.
- Candidates can be asked for references upfront, so ask your references for permission to include them prior to applying.