Top 10 Tips to Make Your Job Application Shine
Next time you apply for a job, there’s a good chance you’ll need to fill out an online application form before you submit your CV.
Did you know that in many cases, the online questionnaire has replaced the cover letter as the best way for you to make a great first impression? Many recruiters will use this as a screening tool before they even read your CV, so it’s important you take the time to make yours shine!
Here are our Top 10 ‘Do’s and Don’t’s’ to help you through this process.
- Take time on your written answers
- Questions like ‘tell us why you are the best person for this job’ are your opportunity to put your best foot forward. Show how you fit the selection criteria noted and personalise your response to the company. Show that you are paying attention.
- Check your spelling and grammar
- Written answers tell an employer more than just what you say. They also indicate your spelling and grammar skills. Many employers will screen applications based on spelling mistakes, so don’t stumble at this first hurdle!
- Pay attention to the compliance questions
- If an employer has a set application process that includes things like drug and alcohol screening, this is outlined in their application form. Take care when selecting your answers to these as they will most usually be requirements that you must accept in order to move through the recruitment process.
- Share your LinkedIn profile if you can
- Many job application portals now offer you the option to share your Linkedin profile as well as/instead of sending a CV. If you are serious about job hunting, make sure your profile is up to date and use it.
- Do your research
- Employers want to meet people who have a positive attitude, initiative and an eagerness to progress through the process. Show that you are that person by thoughtfully completing the online application process.
Cut and paste generic answers
- Nothing smacks of a half-baked effort like a generic answer. Do you copy the same answer to every online application form? Employers can tell. For example, in answer to the question ‘what appeals about our organisation?’, replace the sentence ‘I am a quick learner and want to work in a progressive company’, (which could apply to any firm), with something specific about them; such as ‘I am a quick learner and know that XYZ has a great reputation for training’.
- Tick multiple salary range options
- It isn’t helpful to tick that your salary expectation ranges from $50,000 to $200,000; if anything, it tells an employer that you don’t know how to properly value your skills. Just because you tick your minimum expectation doesn’t mean you are locked out of negotiations. Salary is a sensitive topic but always best to be clear about it when asked, even if you want to make the point that you are negotiable. It wastes everyone’s time if you go through the interview process because you ticked a range that’s $20k below what you actually want and then find you are outside what the employer is prepared to pay.
- Write ‘see CV’ instead of giving an answer
- Although you may have all the information in your CV, if you’re being asked for it in an application form, then write it down. Many recruiters use the application form to screen before even opening a CV and writing ‘see CV’ suggests you are not able to follow instructions or worse, are not sufficiently motivated for the role. This alone can be enough to see your application sidelined.
- Ignore the option of a video interview
- New recruitment software gives candidates the opportunity to present themselves ‘in person’, rather than just being a name on a page. With modern smartphones, everybody has the option of creating a short video to introduce themselves, yet as few as 50% will actually do it when asked! Immediately this shows who is really keen on the job and who isn’t. If an employer sends you a link to do a video, then our advice is to do it. No one expects you to look like a Hollywood star, it’s about seeing you and your enthusiasm.
- Try to ‘beat’ the system
- It’s tempting to tell an employer what you think they want to hear, but ultimately it does your application no good if the skills and experience on your resume don’t match what you’ve stated on the application form. In many cases, that’s an instant decline on the basis you’ve not been honest and have wasted the recruiter or hiring manager’s time.
If you are job hunting in 2019, good luck! Visit www.talentpropellerjobs.co.nz to see if your dream role is advertised. If you’d like more help with the search, check out our other advice at www.talentpropellerjobs.co.nz/blog or utilise our Job Seeker Tools.