Job applications

What to consider to help you make a professional job application online.

When applying for vacancies

Here are some things to consider to manage your job applications:

  • Be professional. This does not have the level of informality of social media. All online communications are governed by the laws of copyright, defamation and discrimination.
  • Be thorough. Most online applications can’t be submitted if fields are left incomplete or codes or acronyms are incorrect, but missing information can also be a reason for screening you out.
  • Address the skills, credentials, knowledge and experience being sought. Applications may go directly into a database that allows the use of optical scanning software to do a keyword search.
  • Read all instructions carefully. Gather everything required for the application such as downloadable academic transcript, CV or other application requirements. For graduate programmes and internships an unofficial and incomplete academic transcript are acceptable.
  • Download a copy of any relevant information and/or application form.
  • Contact the organisation if you experience any technical difficulties.
  • Keep a record of whom you applied to and when, and the name and contact details of key people.

Application forms

As you have already drafted your answers, check the website again to ensure nothing has been changed which would alter the responses you would want to make.

In this situation it is best to type in rather than cut and paste from another document as all applications will come out at the recruiter’s end in plain text. Then you are less likely to overlook a section, as most forms cannot be submitted with incomplete fields.

Before submitting, print off the completed application and proofread at least three times. Make any changes and print off a final copy as a reference and as proof of application.

Most application systems will automatically acknowledge if submission has been successful. If not, or you are uncertain or have experienced problems, follow up by email or phone.

Your online profiles

Watch you presence on all social media sites, and if necessary delete content that might be deemed unprofessional or not put you in your best light.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool that can enhance your job search and the way that you market yourself to prospective employers. Completing your LinkedIn profile will help you rank higher when recruiters use LinkedIn to find talent. Your profile serves as an important marketing tool for your job search.

Including complete information such as work history, universities or organizations worked for will automatically increase the number of suggested connections that LinkedIn will find for you. Others from the same company or alumni of the same university, as well as other organizations you have listed will show up in the “People You May Know” suggestions. This can help you expand and grow your network.

Under the Jobs tab, LinkedIn will populate the first page with positions that relate to the information included in your profile.

For more advice on using LinkedIn in your job search see this Careers and Employment article.

Vacancy or talent banks

With current practice, this can mean having a profile with a company and uploading your CV in organisations’ or recruitment agencies’ recruitment websites.

This enables you access a wider range of potential employers, but you need to be organised. Remember where your CV has been shared and keep it up to date.

Having a CV online is a good idea for those with an ‘in-demand’ skills-set and relevant work experience. A ‘new’ graduate without a clear career direction and limited work experience is less likely to benefit from this approach.

It’s important to post on sites that are likely to be visited by employers and recruitment consultancies. Focus on credible and reputable sites.