In this section, we will run through how to put your best foot forward when you are applying for an advertised job.
Although less common, some employers do still use paper job application forms. When completing a paper application, ensure:
- You read all directions clearly and gather the required information before you start, so the form is completed neatly and consistently in one attempt
- You use clear hand writing, it is important that your writing is clear, legible and free from errors
- You answer all questions completely and honestly
- Follow the employer’s directions, including the use of a specific pen colour and block letters where applicable
- If you are asked why you left a position, answer honestly in a positive manner
- When choosing referees, you should use recent work supervisors where possible
- If asked about salary expectations, write ‘negotiable’ or use a salary range.
Many large organisations and recruiters use software that is designed to search for keywords. When submitting an online application, ensure that you upload documents that the program can ‘read’. If you upload documents that have been scanned, ensure that Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is utilised and that they are not saved as images. Remember:
- Read through the online application and position requirements, before completing the application form
- Research the organisation, use key words that they will relate to
- Wherever possible, include a Cover Letter. Not all employers will read your letter, but if they are expecting one and it is not there, it could be a reason to cull your application
- Make sure that you fill in all required information
- Utilise ‘Keywords’ from the advertisement where applicable
- Upload your Resume in Word or .pdf format. It is always best to create .pdf documents through the Word ‘save as’ process rather than by scanning as an image. This way fonts are embedded in the document and it can be ‘read’ by the software
- Make sure that you double check all information before you submit the application
- Ensure that all required attachments are uploaded
- Ensure that your application is completed and submitted prior to the closing date/time. Most employers will not accept late applications
- Sometimes there is an option to ‘save’ the application, do not confuse this with ‘submit’. Once submitted, you will almost always receive an email confirmation, with a reference number. You should keep this for your reference.