If you’ve ever applied for a job at a large company, you’ve likely encountered the dreaded online application form. Keep these tips in mind the next time you’re confronted with one:
Do a Cover Letter (Make It Original)
Many online application forms give you the option of inputting a cover letter. It’s tempting to skip this step, especially if it comes at the tail end of an especially long application, but doing so would be a mistake. Should your application end up reviewed by a flesh-and-blood human being, they’ll almost certainly pay more attention to a submission that includes a few paragraphs about your background, experience, and why you want the job.
To that end, make sure your cover letter is tailored to the position you want. Your average HR staffer sees dozens (if not hundreds) of applications every week, and you want to stand out. Don’t rely on a generic template, but take the time to craft a short-but-sweet biography that shows why you’d be especially suited for the job on offer.
Résumés and Applications Should Match
Online applications ask you to input the bulk of your employment history. When doing so, make sure that everything in the application matches up with your résumé, cover letter, and any other supplementary materials you submit; if your application passes through the initial series of reviews, chances are good that HR staffers will look for any discrepancy in the materials you’ve provided. Review to ensure your employment dates, job titles, skill-sets, and tasks stay constant from document to document.
Fill Out Everything
Completing an online job application might seem like a pain, but there’s usually a reason behind the company’s request: They want certain kinds of information that aren’t present in a standard résumé-and-cover letter combination, and they want it in a format that aligns with their own (searchable) internal review process and recordkeeping. If you don’t fill everything out—or submit only cursory answers at points—it will almost certainly harm your chances of landing the interview. You don’t want to seem uncooperative (or lazy) from the outset.