Frustrated by Online Job Applications?

frustrated_female_jobseekerI hear from job seekers all the time about how time consuming the online job application process is and how aggravating it can be to submit dozens of online job applications and never hear back.   You wonder if your resume even made it through the Applicant Tracking System.

Because of the highly competitive job market, you need to sell yourself stronger than ever before to stand out from the other candidates.   It is crucial that you answer every single question as well as possible, making sure your grammar and punctuation are perfect.   This is difficult because the input fields you type into are so small that it can be hard  to see what you are typing, and many of these online application systems do not even have a spell check feature.   One typo and you are out of the running.

Many jobseekers skip over the salary question, because they do not want to be eliminated with a figure that is outside of the salary range – but you can’t do this. Make sure you answer every question, as many companies use incomplete applications as a way to weed out candidates.

Because these online application systems are notorious for freezing up and timing out due to the high volume of incoming resumes, you need to save your work frequently.  This can  disrupt your  train of thought, which only adds to the anxiety of answering all the application questions well.

Here is a tip that can speed up completing an online application as well as help you to increase the quality of your application: for quicker completion of online job applications, compose your answers to the questions in Microsoft Word.   Copy the questions from the online system into a Word document.   Use Microsoft’s spelling and grammar check and word count features to fine-tune your answers, and stay within the field constraints.   When you are satisfied with your answers, copy and paste them into the appropriate fields of the online application.   Save that Word document.   As most companies ask similar questions about how the position is a good match for your skill set, you can use that document as a starting point for your next application.   After doing this a few times, you can reduce the online application from one hour per application to about 15 minutes.   And… the quality of your submissions should increase as well.

The takeaway? Rather than using the “spray and pray method” and applying to as many jobs as you can, it is better to submit fewer high quality applications.   Using Microsoft Word can help you accelerate your job search.

  Trish Thomas founded The Resume Resource to help people develop the tools, strategies and confidence to build satisfying careers.   As a Career Coach and Resume Writer, she helps her clients articulate their unique value to stand out from the competition, and guides them through the job search process to make it less overwhelming and more successful.   See how she can help you build a more rewarding career.

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