Filling out online job applications is definitely not a fun task for many of us. They can often be unnecessarily long, and most of us would just prefer to submit our CVs and let them speak for themselves. However, more and more employers are now opting to create long application forms instead of just accepting CVs.
So, why is this becoming increasingly common? It could be mainly because larger organisations are now receiving thousands of applications for every job. The application forms enable them to ask the crucial questions they want to know at an early phase. This makes it much easier for them to filter out unsuitable candidates at an initial stage. It is also much easier to compare job applications following the same template, as the information provided on CVs can differ so much these days.
Tips for Applying for Jobs Online
This two-part blog will take you through our top tips on how to navigate the online application system:
Reading through the selection criteria
First things first, it is essential for all candidates to carefully take in the selection criteria as listed out by the company within the vacancy. All jobs will have a job description included, though the level of detail within these is likely to vary. This will include the skill set, education, and work experience that is required for the job. Most companies will split their requirements into ‘desirable’ and ‘essential’.
It is your job to complete the job application to provide proof that you have at least all the essential skills that they are searching for, and as many of the desirable ones as possible.
- Carefully read through any questions before submitting an answer. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many candidates misunderstand what is being asked of them.
- Write your application outside of the form initially, using software that checks for any spelling or grammar mistakes. Keep in mind though, that these tools can also make errors. For instance, American and UK spellings can get confused. It is worth asking a friend to check your application draft as well. After you are satisfied with your draft responses, copy and paste them into the online form.
- If you’re using standard responses for more than one job application, take care to ensure that you have tailored it accordingly. E.g. make sure you use the correct company name etc.
- Keep all your responses concise and on the punchier side. The company will have many applications to sift through and the unnecessarily long ones will likely be rejected.
- Make sure that any key terms for skills that the employer is looking for are included. For instance, if they want someone with leadership skills, include clear examples of where you have led a team.
- Check thoroughly before you submit. Read through your application form again and again until you are completely satisfied.
Personal details and qualifications
The first part of any online form is usually the easiest. You will usually just need to input your personal details such as name and address. The next section usually asks for detail about your education and qualifications. It is helpful for employers if candidate translates their skills into a grading system that they understand. For instance, if you gained your degree in the U.K. but are applying for a job in an American company, translate your degree grade into the American equivalent. NARIC can help you do this for a small fee.
In the next part of this blog, we’ll be giving you tips on how questions:
- Competency-based questions
- Talk about your strengths and weaknesses
- Why you want to work at the job you’re applying for.