It’s taken all day, but you’ve found it; you’ve finally found a position that matches your skill set. Your resume is updated and looking professional. All that’s left to do is hit the “apply” button on the company website and officially submit an application. Then, *click* it appears…
THE DREADED ONLINE JOB APPLICATION FORM
Many job seekers are surprised to see lengthy application forms appear before having a chance to submit their resume and cover letter. In fact, a number of employers require completion of an application form prior to the interview process. At times, these questions can seem a bit repetitive, and unfortunately, many applicants do not pay close enough attention to the necessary forms, assuming their resume and accompanying materials will be enough.
Don’t make this mistake! A well-done online application may mean the difference between getting your foot in the door and getting forgotten. Here are some tips for conquering online job application forms:
Keep Track of Profiles
The amount of different providers employers use to run their application systems is staggering. Many of these platforms require you to create a user profile, complete with username, password and resume information. With so many accounts being created, it can be easy to lose track, but applying to a position using the wrong information and profile can be costly. Keep track of your profiles by saving a file with each website, username and password.
Practice on a Separate Document File
A lot of online job application forms have timed requirements for completion. When there is a bunch of required information to fill out, the pressure to get it all in on time can be extremely stressful. Avoid playing, “beat the clock” by initially reviewing the required information, then copy/pasting it into a separate document (Word or other typing file.) You can then complete your answers at a pace that’s comfortable for you, only returning to the timed form in order to plug in your information and submit.
Avoid Tricky Formatting
The spaces provided in many online application forms may not be able to handle special formatting or characters that may appear in your resume, cover letter and other important documents. Examples of formatting that may be lost when entered into these fields includes bulleting, special fonts and indentations. Especially if crafting your answers in a separate document, keep your responses in plain text to avoid errors.
Pay Attention to All Response Fields
Whether it’s due to haste or the assumption that it won’t matter, applicants often skip areas of an application and submit anyway. Whenever possible, do your best to fill out each field to the best of your knowledge. Even if this information may be repeated on your resume, it could be integral to the online application for in question.
One example of more of lengthy field you may need to look out for is the “Past Employment” area. Required elements may include:
- Company address
- Phone number
- Beginning/end dates
- Supervisor name, title and contact info
- Duties/accomplishments for each position
- Reasons for leaving
*Note: Some application forms may include an area for attachments. This often is an option field, but attaching a relevant cover letter and any applicable work examples is strongly encouraged.
Review, Review, Review
Finally, take the time to check, double-check and triple-check each and every field of your application – especially when adding additional attachments to your form. Attention to detail can help you avoid silly mistakes when applying. But reviewing your application does not stop there! Be sure to set a date to follow up on your application if you have yet to hear from an employer.
Online applications may be scary at first sight, but with a well-thought strategy ready, you can easily conquer your job search! Do you have any tips for applying to a job online? We’d love to hear about it below!