The Online Job Application Process
We live in a digital world. Many organizations are embracing the technological changes of a digital world in their organizational procedures, including their hiring processes. Some have included and/or have switched to online job application processes such as accepting resumes online. Social media has also become prominent in the online job application process.
It is increasingly common for hiring managers to view your online profiles – like LinkedIn – to learn about your job experience or to get an idea of the “real” you before making an effort to contact you.
With that said, here are some useful tips to help you make the most of your online presence to assist you in finding a job via the online job application process.
Analyze Your Online Presence
First and foremost, start by Googling yourself. Check and see if anyone shares your name. If there’s a chance the hiring manager could mistake them for you then it could harm your job search. If this is an unfortunate reality for you, consistently update information about yourself across the web and your profiles. By doing this, search results for your name should display what you want without any harmful mix-ups.
Now it’s time to clean-up your social media presence. Optimize your profiles with proper keywords to assist with search engine results. Also, include contact information, educational background, and of course, work experience. Next, ensure any inappropriate content is removed; embarrassing photos, videos, or offensive language. This can be a time consuming task, but once completed it will help improve your online job application results and the chances of being found online by potential employers.
Preparing Your E-Documents
Even electronically, a resume is essential in the online job application process. It should be succinct, and demonstrate how your skills and knowledge fit the job description. If you are a young graduate, you may choose to list all of your experience since it may be limited. Just be sure to relate it to the job description somehow.
After finishing your “fancy” resume, create a second version that has very minimal formatting. This will be your digital resume. It has become common practice for HR staff to only accept electronic resumes. Many of these resume programs do not keep all your fonts and formatting; some don’t even keep bullet lists! Try uploading your original resume first. If you’re lucky, it will accept your resume’s formatting. If it doesn’t, create a “basic” format-free copy from your original.
Hiring managers have also started using software tools to help remove unsatisfactory resumes. By analyzing keywords found in job descriptions and comparing them with uploaded resumes, the software can detect any matches. This is why it’s so important to include words found in the skills section and job descriptions, not just one or two, but all of them! If your resume is not optimized correctly it could be discarded before someone even looks at it. Once you pass the initial screening, the best case scenario is getting called in for an interview. If you do get called in, bring a few copies of your “fancy” resume just in case.
The next thing to think about is your cover letter. It will determine the employer’s first impression of you so make it more personal and descriptive than your resume. Show your passion and interest in the job, why you are a good match, and what you can offer to the company. The hiring manager already has your resume so avoid repeating yourself. Instead, elaborate more on your accomplishments and give examples of how you benefitted past employers. Always double check your cover letters when uploading them online as their formatting can be altered.
Remember, each job is different, so make sure you customize your resumes and cover letters for each job application.
Create an Online Portfolio
Having your own personal website or portfolio is a great way to show hard evidence of your talents and accomplishments. Your website should include a section with your work experience on it – similar to a resume. It should also include a link to your portfolio section that showcases your work; websites, advertisements, graphic designs, etc. Also, don’t forget to provide contact information so hiring managers can reach you.
Research some background information about the company. If you know the name of the interviewer, look them up on LinkedIn. Study any current news about your field that you could mention in the interview; the hiring manager will be impressed that you have a keen interest in the job. In addition, don’t forget your interview basics like dressing professionally, asking good questions, and preparing your answers to interview questions beforehand. Before you leave, ask for their contact information and when they are expecting to call back candidates. Finally, email the hiring manager within 24 hours thanking them for the opportunity.
The online job application process can be a lengthy undertaking but if you remember these tips, you should have no problem getting noticed. When you’re finished updating your online presence, visit our website and browse through our online job boards.
By Daniel Ecclestone