Guest Author - Dianne Walker
Employers are turning toward online job application submission in record numbers. With more employers using online recruiting methods, it is imperative to understand the importance of a complete and accurate online job application. While an incomplete or sloppy online application may not seem important, it could make all the difference when it comes time to select candidates for an interview. There are several important details to focus on when completing an online application.
Where to begin? Start by having a copy of your hardcopy resume on hand before starting the application process. Having the document close at hand will help streamline the process and prevent the need to dig around for information such as employment dates and locations.
Fill in all the blanks. Do not leave empty fields, unless the information is truly not applicable. Trying to “trick” recruiters by leaving certain fields blank, will only raise red flags. For example, leaving the “reason for leaving” field blank almost always prompts questions.
Experience is key, so fill it in. Be sure to enter your knowledge, skills and abilities that are relevant to the position for which you are applying. Any irrelevant information in the experience field will not help to screen you through to an interview. Aim for quality rather than quantity.
Be sure to list reliable references. Unless you have never held a job before, make sure to use previous supervisors as references. Unfortunately, the next door neighbor is not considered a reliable reference. If your work has been primarily voluntary, use those supervisors as well. They can offer a glowing reference on your behalf. Remember, unless you are a high school or college student with limited work experience, an inability to provide references is definitely a waving red flag.
Check for spelling, typos and capitalization. If you can’t take the time to capitalize your own name, why would a recruiter consider you for a position? If it is a word which is ordinarily capitalized in a document, it should be capitalized in an online application.
Don’t leave gaps in employment. Some may tell you to leave off a position if you have been terminated. Employers notice gaps in employment. While you may have a legitimate reason for leaving, it’s better to explain the reason rather than look like you were trying to hide information.
Remember, the small details count. If you use one of the sites that allow stored applications, revisit the application each time you apply for a job. If you are applying for a part-time job, be sure the application does not indicate you will only accept full–time work. If you’re applying for a job that requires weekend work, the application should not indicate your hours of availability as Monday through Friday only. Recruiters look at the small details.
Completing an application online can be a tedious and lengthy process. Carelessness on the application, however, may cost a shot at an interview. Online applications are definitely the wave of the future and should be treated with the same care as a traditional resume.
Best of luck to you in your job search!