Get 'IT' Together BEFORE You Fill Out That Online Application
Sometimes action taken on New Year’s Resolutions is immediate—for example, you start walking thirty minutes three times per week on the treadmill or you add more leafy greens to your diet. But, there are the other, longer term resolutions that tend to get postponed. You know, the big life changers that go beyond getting in physical shape and that are scarier than eating kale. One of life’s big action steps is to make a change professionally, and an initial step to this action may wind up taking you down the tricky and complex path of job applications.
In the not too distant past, an initial step to applying for many jobs involved sending a resume with a cover letter to a prospective employer. Or perhaps the prospective employer would have you fill out a job application form that you could pick up at the place of employment. Now, for better or for worse, the majority of positions are listed online and the application process begins online.
Online applications can be long, complicated and unforgiving. By taking deliberate steps toward organizing your information before you begin to fill out the online application, you will save yourself time and frustration in the long run, and better position yourself as a candidate after you hit send.
1. Create a Job Search Notebook. This will be the one place you use for keeping track of your applications. It is where you will list the information you will need as you are filling out applications. It is also the place where you will put the information about each company you apply to.
2. Use your professional email address for the application. This is the email address that incorporates a form of your name. If your name is Brittany Johnson, your professional email address would be something like email@example.com. Do not use the firstname.lastname@example.org version. Write the professional email address in your Job Search Notebook and remember, after pressing send, you’ll be checking your professional email every day.
3. Contact the people whom you would like to use as references and ask permission to list them. Get the correct spelling of their names, their complete addresses, their phone numbers and email addresses. Double check this information—you want to get it right. You may need all or some of this information on your online application. Put this information in your Job Search Notebook.
4. Secure three general letters of recommendation.
5. Before you apply, add the following information to the Job Search Notebook:
- Name, addresses and phone numbers of the places (jobs) where you have worked.
- Full names, addresses and phone numbers of your supervisors.
- Start and end dates of your previous jobs.
- Dates of graduation from all schools and programs.
- Names, addresses and phone numbers of your educational institutions.
- Any certifications or licenses you have earned and the dates you earned them. You may need to also list the dates they expire.
- Any awards you have won or special programs you have taken and the dates.
- Any hobbies, clubs, activities, organizations in which you have participated or are a member.
- Hours you are available to work. It is extremely important that you list an abundance of available times and indicate your flexibility. If you are think you might have a conflict, such as a class you are taking, you can discuss this if you are offered the job.
- For each company, list the key words that reflect the company’s mission, the job announcement and critical skills for the position.
- You will also need your social security number and phone number. Make sure your phone’s outgoing voice message is professional and you check your messages every day. List work permit information if you have immigrant labor status.
Next Steps: Filling out the Application
1. Block a large amount of time when you can focus on the application. You may need 45 minutes to several hours. In some cases, you may be asked questions about your personality. Make sure you present yourself in the best possible light. Remember, these questions are used as screening tools.
2. If the company has multiple locations, double check that you are applying to the site where you want to work.
3. Use your Job Search Notebook to record information about the job to which you are applying. You will typically have a password that you have to create for your application. Record this information.
4. Completely fill out the application. Make sure you use proper spelling and grammar.
5. Attach your resume if it is an option.
6. Attach a cover letter if it is an option.
7. Attach letters of recommendation if this is an option.
With careful planning before you begin to fill out the application, you will find that this early focus yields better results. Mistakes on online applications are not easily correctable, so take your time and double-check your work. And… back to those early resolutions…keep on putting those miles on the treadmill, and remember, kale is a power food.
About the Author:
Cathleen Hanson is co-director and founder of The International School of Protocol, the leader in providing training and consultation services to those who want to enhance their interpersonal skills and personal effectiveness in business and social relationships. The International School of Protocol provides the highest caliber of protocol and etiquette training for businesses, corporations, colleges, schools, teachers, youth and individuals.
Click the following link to learn more about: Cathleen Hanson
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Get 'IT' Together BEFORE You Fill Out That Online Application. With careful planning before you begin to fill out the application, you will find that this early focus yields better results.
1. Create a Job Search Notebook.
2. Use your professional email address for the application.
3. Contact the people whom you would like to use as references and ask permission to list them.
4. Secure three general letters of recommendation.
5. Before you begin applying online to posted job opportunities, make sure you add all necessary information that you'll be repeatedly using and posting to your Job Search Notebook.
6. Block a large amount of time for when you can focus on the filling out and submission of online job applications. Best Wishes—on your job search!