Some employers prefer job applicants to complete an application form rather than send in a resume. Application forms allow the company to compare standard information from all candidates. This reduces the risk of discrimination in the short-listing process. In addition, the form acts like a filter. Applicants who would have been happy to spend two minutes forwarding a standard resume may be put off by the thought of spending an hour filling in a standard application form. As a result, candidates who lack commitment and enthusiasm remove themselves from the pool of potential recruits.
Increasingly, application forms are being made available online through the company’s website. Here are some tips to help you complete an online recruitment application form.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
As with any recruitment application, take time to research the company and identify what they are looking for. Targeting your application will increase your chances of getting an interview.
CAN YOU SAVE AND RETURN?
Find out if you can save the application and return to it later. This usually means creating a user account and password. If you cannot save it, you will need to complete the application in one sitting. Be sure that you allow enough time to fill in the whole application without rushing, if this is the case.
SAVE AS YOU GO
Some online applications will allow you to save information as you enter it. Make good use of this feature to avoid having to re-enter information if the application crashes. If you cannot save in the application itself, create a word processing document into which you can copy and paste the information.
KEEP IT FORMAL
Online communication can encourage informality. Remember this is a job application and use the same language that you would use in a resume. Keep it brief and factual, avoiding abbreviations.
Online applications are often matched electronically to the job requirements using keywords. For example, keywords may be used to pick up on essential qualifications or experience of certain types of software. Ensure that you identify keywords from the job advertisement and job description. Include these in your application form.
CUT AND PASTE WITH CAUTION
It can be tempting to copy and paste sections of your resume. While this can save time, be sure that you are including all the information requested. Even when copy and paste is appropriate, be sure to read over the text and tweak the wording to tailor your application to meet the job requirements.
Online applications often have word counts or character counts for paragraphs of free text. Stick as closely to the recommended word count as possible. Take care if you want to edit the middle of the paragraph. Some applications with maximum character counts start deleting the end of the text when you exceed the maximum allowance.
Spelling and grammar checks are not usually available within online applications. You could copy and paste into a word processing document and run a spell check. However, you should not rely on your spell check to catch all errors. Correctly spelled words wrongly used will not show up, for example “too” instead of “too”.
PRINT IT OFF
Print the completed form, either direct from the application, if it allows you to do this, or from your word processing software. It is useful to read over the form ahead of the interview to refresh your memory.