By Terry Corbell
The Biz Coach
5 Tips to Shine in Your Online Job Application
As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use a tracking system to screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time. More on the five tips to shine in your online job application later — but first let’s consider a self-marketing approach.
Personally, I would never apply for a job online. It’s tantamount to the entertainment industry’s audition cattle calls in which there’s one winner and dozens of losers. I believe in a proactive approach and maximizing my potential for success by minimizing competition from others.
True, as a business-performance consultant, I’ve been out of the job market for two+ decades. Even though technology has changed, human nature hasn’t. That includes employers.
So here was my job-hunting mindset:
Whenever possible, I’d want a presence in the hiring room before applying. In other words, I’d use strategies to make sure the hiring persons were already familiar with my work. At all costs, I avoided the human resources department.
Executives more readily spotted my strengths and potential to help them save time and money while contributing to the welfare of those companies. That meant I minimized my competition from competing jobseekers.
Even in college, I did my homework on the companies where I hoped to work. My practice was to contact a manager two levels above the job-level that I’d hoped to work. Such people were usually impressed by such an assertive approach when I asked for advice on my collegiate studies. The strategy worked, and I’ll never forget getting immediate consideration for an announcing job by the executive at an ABC television affiliate station.
After graduation – with a slight twist in my approach – I never went through the HR department. I would ask such managers to meet with me. I learned that good executives were honored to share their opinions. I wanted to know their perspectives regarding their industry issues and what they wanted in talent. If it was obvious I wouldn’t get a job offer, I asked for two referrals – “Thank you for sharing your insights – who are a couple of your colleagues who wouldn’t mind sharing their insights, too?”
After such discussions, I headed directly to the post office to mail a handwritten thank you note on my monarch-size stationery. The notes arrived the next day and created a favorable impression. Often, in subsequent interviews, executives thanked me for my thank note.
Another thing I learned: Such managers would typically offer me higher wages than lower-level supervisors. It also accelerated my promotions. As the executive moved up, so would I.
Online application tips
Keep in mind this self-marketing philosophy, and these five online-application tips:
- Today, if I would continue a self-marketing approach even in this digital era. Put social media to work for you. Make certain your social media – Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter – are current, professional and show maturity. Be careful what you publish – always keep in mind your career goals. If you are job-searching in a particular industry, post pertinent information and ideas. (Note: If I limited the visibility to my Facebook page to friends and family, under no circumstances would I provide my user name and password to a prospective employer. See why here.)
- Again, I would apply at companies where I could get a presence in the room before the application process. Not to imply HR departments are irrelevant, I would try to develop a rapport with hiring managers first. If a manager told me I’d have to contact the HR office to make an online application, I would. If the hiring company wasn’t within driving distance, then I’d succumb to the online application process.
- Prepare by methodically reading the job description, and identify the right keywords to use. Otherwise, you risk submitting a cover letter, application and resume that will be screened out by the HR filtering system.
- Be thorough. Indicate your qualifications, strong interest, and how you’ll be a fit in the organization’s culture. Make sure you customize your approach for each company. Correctly spell all words. Avoid abbreviations. Double-check every answer for possible typos and verbiage errors. Complete all fields in the application form. This will illustrate your strong interest in the job.
- In case you apply for multiple positions at a company, customize each application, but keep them in the same candidate profile. Help the HR person and system to avoid confusion.
From the Coach’s Corner, here’s more reading:
- Stand Out: Get a Job Interview with a Great Resume
- Need a Career Change? 10 Steps for a Career Makeover
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.