Today, many large employers are more likely to want candidates to apply online through their company website, or a job search board such as Indeed.ca. Some employers will NOT accept paper applications so it’s important to be prepared and apply for jobs online.
Here are some tips to help you complete your online application successfully:
Internet Access – If you do not have access at your home, there are many locations that offer free internet access such as libraries, employment centres and community centres. Be aware of time constraints as you may have a limit to the amount of time you can use the service. Next-Steps Employment Centres offer free internet access, fax, and phone services to all of our clients.
Email Address – Make sure you have a professional e-mail address set-up before you fill out an online application form. Many company websites ask you to complete a Personal Profile first before you can submit an application. The profile will ask for your contact information, including phone and e-mail. They may even ask if you want to receive alerts for other job openings with the company; it is a good idea to select ‘yes’. Check your e-mail on a regular basis, as many employers may send you an interview request through e-mail, or a questionnaire for you to complete.
Resume & Cover Letter – Have your job search documents ready to go: tailored for the position you are applying to, and saved in the format as requested. The online application form may ask you to attach your resume as a Word document (.doc or .docx), in plain text (.txt) or as a PDF. Read the instructions carefully and follow the employer’s preference. Many employers will be using Applicant Tracking System Scanning software (covered in a previous post) that will scan your resume for keywords and qualifications as highlighted in the job posting . Be sure to highlight these in your resume. The more tailored your resume is to the specific position you are seeking the more likely you are to be called for an interview. Avoid using templates and graphics in your resume which may not be readable by the software.
Employment History – In addition to attaching your resume, many online application forms ask for detailed information on past employers such as: company names, addresses, and phone numbers, supervisor’s names, previous job titles, duties and dates of employment. Have this information near you, so you can easily and efficiently enter your information.
Short Answer Questions – Many applications ask short answer questions that cover your knowledge, skills and experience as related to the job you are applying for. Take your time, and try answering the questions in a Word document first, so you can check your spelling and grammar, before copy and pasting your answer into the application form. This will also allow you to save the questions and your answers to refer back to if you are called in for an interview, or if you want to apply for another position with the company. Many employers ask similar questions in their online application forms, so it is a good habit to always save your answers for future reference.
Research the Company – When applying through a company website, be sure to have a look at the company profile, what the company does, and how long they have been around. The company careers or about us section will likely have information on their application process and available jobs. Find out more about the company by checking Glassdoor.ca and LinkedIn, or read our recent post “How to Research Companies when Preparing to Start your Job Search“.