How to Apply for a Job Online and Stand Out in an Interview
This week's blog covers information for those who aren't too familiar with the process of applying for a job. Therefore it is intended for graduates and those who are returning to the job market after a career break.
Before you attempt to apply for a job online, it is always a good idea to research the company and the job position carefully so that you can fulfil their needs. I.e. matching your skills to the job requirements, showing what it is that you bring to the company and proving that your contribution is more than mere duties and responsibilities. When preparing to apply for a job ONLINE, you should gather all the information that you will need to use:
1. YOU WILL NEED INTERNET ACCESS. Start your job search by creating an account on at least one of the major job boards such as Monster, Career Builder and Dice for tech jobs. This will also require that you create an email address. For professionals, LinkedIn is a good place to have a profile. Some sites allow job seekers to register with their Facebook or LinkedIn information. Use job keywords to search online and make a list of your own keywords that reflect your career interests. Typical keywords are ‘recruitment and employment’. Consider too a job search engine such as LinkedIn to find current openings. You can also try company websites when you know which companies you’re interested in working for.
2. AN EMAIL ADDRESS IS OBLIGATORY. For obvious reasons, you cannot expect responses online without an email address. Check your emails at least daily and preferably more often.
3. AN UP-TO-DATE CV. Your CV must include current contact information. Save your CV` as, yournameCV.doc rather than a file name like “CV”. This way a hiring manager will connect you with it when they review it.
4. A COVER LETTER. Have a basic cover letter ready which you can customise for each job you apply to. Always have a cover letter unless specifically not required.
5. EMPLOYMENT HISTORY. Apart from details of your work history, you may need the full address of your previous employers, along with the telephone number of the company and perhaps your supervisors’ name. You could download a sample job application form to practice on before you start the online application. Print and fill it out so that you know exactly what information you will need to enter when you complete the actual application online. Use it as a guide. It is essential to follow instructions when you fill out a profile, upload a CV and cover letter or, take an employment test as part of the ONLINE application process.
6. YOU MAY ALSO NEED TO TAKE AN ONLINE TEST. Tests are to assess your skills, personality and some to test your emotional intelligence, including cognitive tests to see if you are a good fit for the job.
7. REFERENCES. Make sure you have permission to use any online references that you may get through LinkedIn connections etc. If there is anyone that you know at the company you are applying to, contact them to give you a reference too. Ensure that contact numbers or email addresses are correct and current.
When you do land an interview, a GOOD PLAN is always a good idea. It goes without saying that dress must be appropriate for the interview to create a positive first impression. Apart from arriving on time here are a few ideas, including some from Dr Randall S. founder of, Quintessential Careers:
1. Prepare well by researching a good interview plan.
2. Once you have a plan worked out, practice this on a friend.
3. Dress appropriately. You wouldn't dress the same for a glamorous film role as you would for a financial position at a firm of accountants.
4. Show confidence as this builds trust - relax and do not fidget.
5. Impress the interviewer with positive body language - smiling helps and definitely no slouching or scowling allowed.
6. Answer any questions correctly and clearly – no mumbling.
7. Ask smart questions that show you are interested and even excited about the job; questions that set you apart from the competition.
8. Articulate your experience and background clearly to a challenging interviewer, without boasting, or fawning.
9. Do not bore the interviewer with irrelevant information or social chit-chat - he/she may have a tight schedule to get through.
10. Thank the interviewer for their time when leaving.
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