A rapidly increasing amount of employers now require job applicants to use online application forms, and apply by e-mail or over the internet, because this is usually the quickest and most efficient method of recruitment. Candidates should bear in mind that online applications require the same level of preparation as a targeted CV application, or hard copy application form.
Registering to make an application
If you are asked to complete an online job-application form, you will almost certainly have to register first. You should be prepared to give some personal details and may also have to answer a few basic questions about your interest in the job before you get to the real application form.
Using the right language
Although the internet is a largely informal means of communication, be sure to take the same care over an online job application as you would over a paper application form.
If you can, print out the job-application form and fill in a draft copy before you submit it. As online forms may have no word limit, this can help you make sure that your answers are not too long.
Follow the same guidelines as for paper job applications, ensuring you write in complete sentences, with good grammar and spelling.
Some online application forms include a set of multiple-choice questions about your likes, strengths and preferences. These can be used to identify whether your preferred style of working fits with the culture of the organisation and the skills they require. Try to be as honest as possible. There may be repeats of questions to ensure your answers are consistent and some questions that test whether you're trying to make a favourable impression.
However, it also requires different techniques to traditional job applications. Here’s how to make your online job application jump off the screen.
It’s a myth that you will be selected or rejected wholly by a computer. An automated system can only check that you meet the basic requirements an employer is looking for, e.g. qualifications. Some forms automatically scan for key selection criteria. Make sure you use words which are appropriate to the job you're applying for. Look at the original job description and see what type of words they use under their 'must have',
'required skills' or 'essential skills' sections. For example, if they say they need someone with excellent communication skills, use the words 'communication skills' in your application.
Whatever method is used, a person will read your form and make decisions on your application.
Completing your Application
An online application form should not actually be completed while you're online; you might get disconnected, you might not be able to read it properly and there's a chance that you might press submit in error before you have completed the form. Instead, copy and paste it into a word-processing package, work on it, spell check it, print it out, read it thoroughly, transfer the details back to the original and check it again. Only then, when you're 100% happy with it should you click the 'submit' button.