Recruitment has shifted almost entirely online. It has become more sophisticated, making it quicker and easier to apply for jobs, but also meaning you have to be more flexible and prepared for different styles of screening depending on the company. For a candidate, completing job applications can be a frustrating process.
How can I make my applications stand out?
Many employers may ask you to login and create an account where you can track your application, some may ask you to record a video application for them to view on demand, and some have created an online application form to either download and complete or that requires you to complete and submit straight away. Whatever the requirements the key principles you engaged with when submitting a paper based application still apply but also being prepared for some of the challenges can help you create the perfect application.
Online applications require time so make sure you set aside enough time to complete it, especially if there is no “save and return” function, and you are expected to complete it in one sitting. Make sure you are in a calm and quiet environment – completing it at your desk in your lunch hour surrounded by colleagues may not be conducive to producing quality work. And as with paper applications don’t leave it until just before the deadline as they may close early.
Check what is involved before you start. Some employers now also use personality and scenario based tests to screen candidates before they even get to the application point. If this is the case, make sure you have read and absorbed the job description and person specification so you can really understand what the employer is looking for and have a context for the questions, especially the scenario ones.
- When completing the personal statement make sure you are demonstrating how you meet the required competency or skill. The STAR technique can be useful in structuring your examples.
- Make sure you have your CV to hand when completing the application form so you can access your dates and employment/educational details easily.
- Research key words for the roles from the advert, job description and person specification and website. Make sure you are talking the employers language when you are describing your experience. If initial screening is computer based key words will be very important.
Make sure you save a copy of what you submit, especially if it is a non-downloadable form, you may need to copy and paste your content into a word document. If you get called to interview you need to know what you said, plus if you are applying for similar jobs you can re-use some of the examples in another application form.
If the application requires you to send in a copy of your CV make sure you save it as a pdf so that the formatting and content remain intact regardless of how it is opened. If a document can’t be opened it will be binned.
Label your documents or attachments clearly stating the job title, your name and date. Make it easy for your potential manager to access your info.
Create an Impact
Just because you’re filling in boxes don’t forget you want your application to stand out. Think about how you can demonstrate how your uniqueness and value can contribute to the organisation. This is especially true for video applications where you want to come across as enthusiastic and engaged – be your best self even if it is just you and a camera in the room. For more tips on creating stunning content read ‘How to give your CV the wow factor‘
The future of recruitment will be more technology based so embrace it and get smart at completing applications on line.