Remember the days when applying for a job meant filling in a form in your best handwriting, composing a cover letter than sending it all off in an envelope with a first class stamp? Most companies have now moved to online job applications and this certainly makes life easier for everyone as you are not reliant on the post to get your form there on time, and the internet can make you aware of far many more opportunities than the vacancies section in the newspaper. There are however some basic rules for online applications, so make sure you are aware of the “etiquette” and maximise your interview chances.
Set Up A Separate Job Email
It’s a good idea to set up a dedicated email account for your job hunting, as this keeps all work-related correspondence in the same place and ensures it isn’t lost among spam or personal emails. Use a provider such as Gmail or Yahoo and when you’re setting up your email go for something professional using your name – Jennifer_brown@ or SCAnderson@ is far better than pretty_fairygirl@ or topArsenalfan@. Check your work email at least twice a day as you’ll want to be able to respond quickly to any new messages.
Check your Social Media
Employers can and do check candidates’ Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn account, so scroll through your profile and see if there’s anything you’d prefer them not to see. Pictures of your summer holiday, children and pets are fine, pictures of you getting outrageously drunk or making derogatory comments about your current employer may not be. A good rule of thumb when considering whether to delete a post is “Would I be happy for my granny to see this?”
Spelling and Grammar
We’re used to text speak and abbreviations when using forums and sending emails, but there’s no room for LOL and txt spk on a job application. Keep your language formal, just as you would when sending a traditional application through the post. If grammar and spelling isn’t your strong point, then get someone to check your application over before hitting the send button. Keep the email formatting simple too by using a business-like font and leaving the animated artwork off.
Don’t Cut Corners
If you’re applying for lots of different jobs, it can be tempting to use auto-fill software to save time by completing your basic details and work history. The problem with auto-complete tools is that they sometimes get it wrong by putting a county in a city field, or a landline number instead of a mobile. It will be very obvious to anyone screening applications that you’ve either not read the instructions, or have cut corners. If you do use auto-fill tools, always check over applications thoroughly before sending.
Sometimes online forms can feel repetitive, especially if you’ve already attached your CV. It’s tempting to leave blanks or write “see CV”, but depending on how organisations filter applications, the person who looks at the form might not be the same person who sees your CV. Always answer questions in full and don’t leave any blank spaces.