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Apply for a job on-line and be a successful candidate
CVs are being replaced by on-line applications, but the competition is still fierce.
Companies (particularly the good ones) are rapidly replacing CVs for standardised job applications that allow recruiters to use consistent rules for all applicants. If you face the daunting task of completing an application rather than polishing your already-printed CV, you will need to understand what recruiters are looking for in an application.
Here is a list of tips before completing any application.
- All standard applications will request more or less the same information: contact details, education, previous experience, time availability and references. There is likely to be a section where you will have to answer a set of multiple choice or open questions aimed at matching your profile with the job and the company. People tend to answer these questions briefly and without much thought without realising that this is one of the first things recruiters will be screening to pre-select the candidates that will go to interview.
- Always remember to take your time researching the company you are applying for. The great thing about applying online is that most of the time you will know what is the actual company recruiting. You are less likely to be in the hands of a recruitment agency and therefore you can do your research on the same website about the company, its principles, responsibilities, etc.
- Be precise: the reason why recruiters are rapidly replacing CVs with online applications is because CVs allow too many distractions. With a standard application they can go straight to the point, check the form much faster and decide quicker whether you are a suitable candidate or not. Many CVs end in the trash without being read beyond the first page because the recruiter does not have the time to go through each 3+ pages CV. Desirable employers deal with hundreds of applicants every day and more often than not the number of people in charge of recruiting amounts to one.
- Avoid spelling mistakes: if the application does not allow you to spell-check, take the time to search a dictionary before submitting your application.
- Avoid grammar mistakes: ditto. In spite of the efforts to standardise applications and give everyone a fair chance, it is proved that poor spelling and grammar put recruiters off.
- Apply for the right job at the right time: Don't fill up an online application just because you'd like to work for that company. Your application will be saved on the recruitment system and applying for any job, regardless of the tasks and requirements, can make recruiters think you are not serious about your career.
- Be truthful and honest: you will forget what you put on your application and lies will hunt you down. At least 4 out of 10 people confess to lie in their CVs and it might be easier to disguise it in an open document. However, with standard applications your details can be checked over and over again and you could end up in an embarrassing situation.
- Review, review, review: if you have been sending CVs everywhere and prepared them to fit each job advertisement, you are by now an expert in the field. This skill however is not always transferrable to online applications as they are precise and may ask you multiple choice questions about yourself. Take your time.
- Do not send CVs by email: although there will always be a "Contact Us" link somewhere in order to phone or email HR, resist the temptation to send or try to attach your CV to the application unless clearly specified. The procedure has been set up for a reason and your CV file will not even be opened by HR.
- Follow up: most online recruitment will allow you to monitor the status of your application. If this is not the case make sure to run a courtesy call to make sure your file has been received. The call needs to be brief and to the point to let the company know that you are keen without being pushy.