Okay so let’s say you see a job you are interested in applying for. Near the end of the posting, it gives you three ways to apply for the job; fax, email or online. Does it matter which you use to apply? According to several employers I’ve spoken with, it does.
Faxing or email usually results in people being interviewed who have not always taken the time to visit the website of the employer. Without that crucial visit, applicants are not then familiar with the values, beliefs, mission statements, and culture of the organization. This then leads to clients who pose questions to the interviewer that are covered on their company website, and sometimes applicants even withdraw from the job competition because new information is given to them in the interview that was and continues to be available to potential applicants on the website.
Visiting a company’s website and applying via it also demonstrates to the employer that you are quite possibly very interested in the employer themselves and not just doing that job for any organization. Spending some time online, reading about the products, services, delivery methods, key goals and how the company treats its employees and customers could tell you that you’d be a good fit or possibly this is a position that wouldn’t be right for you.
So where to start? If the job advertisement itself is electronic, you’ll probably find a hyperlink to click on, but at the very least you can search the company name and find their official website. Once you are there, you should look at the Homepage you arrive at. Without clicking anything immediately, observe several things about the page itself. What information is on that homepage, because this is the first page any visitor – applicant or customer – will see upon arrival. Are they selling you on products, services, location? Is it clear what that company does? Do they have photo’s or a single picture, and what do those pictures convey to you in terms of a response?
You can usually find a section called, “About Us” which once clicked on will tell you information like how long they’ve been in business, who calls the shots, their purpose, and facts about the company history; maybe even some numbers in terms of sales, position in the industry etc.
But your mostly going to be interested in the, “Careers”, tab. Whether it’s, “Careers”, or “Come Work For Us” or some other similar heading, it is here that you’ll likely find information about the kind of people who the company hopes to attract. They will often tell you the attributes they value most in the people they hire, and the qualifications those who are successfully given interviews and job offers typically have. Your resume, cover letter and online application had best mirror the things listed here so you match up best. And if given an interview, you can usually guess the questions you will be posed will call on you to prove you have the things they value most.
When you do start to apply online, you might be asked to complete a profile for the company first. You’ll have to create perhaps a unique username and password too. This process might be frustrating to do company by company and application by application, but it does weed out those that can’t be bothered. And from the company point of view, if you can’t be bothered completing an application to work there, well, then they don’t usually want you.
I myself usually zoom in on where I can upload my resume in the online application. By doing this early, I often find the software takes the information from my resume and pre-populates some of the fields for me. In other words, it fills out information such as my name so I don’t have to fill in all the empty boxes which are called, “fields”.
The fields the company has on the application tell the company things you would not normally include in your resume. So for example, you might be asked what days and hours you are available to work, state your salary expectations and more.
While time-consuming, remember that the next time you visit this website to check on your status or to apply for another job, you’ll simply have to enter your pre-chosen username and password and you’re in. You’ll then be able to track your application status for example, and if you do apply for a second position, much of your information has been retained and filled out, so you just need to adjust some of the fields to reflect the new.
One huge tip I want to give any online job seeker is to review each of your fields for spelling and grammar before you click the, ‘next’ button, or ‘send’. Poor spelling, not capitalizing proper names, poor vocabulary, and misused punctuation can reveal to an employer that you have issues in these areas, and they will make assumptions about your education level and even your intelligence.
Job postings contain only the most essential of information. The serious job seeker who wants to save time by getting more interviews will visit websites every time they can identify the company they are applying to. Do this well, and you can add, “While visiting your website, I was impressed to learn…” to your cover letter!