Tips for filling in online job application forms

Everyone loves them don’t they, online application forms?  No two are the same.  Listed below are just a few things I have experienced that may be helpful to you.

  • Some forms will allow you to read through all the pages before you start filling it in, but most don’t so you won’t know what is required until you register and start completing the form.
  • Even when you have registered and start filling the form in, most online application forms won’t let you look at the next page until you have completed the one you are in.
  • Some forms will allow you to save as you go, to exit and come back and finish it later, some won’t (and they are the most frustrating often timing out after fifteen minutes which can create problems when you try to go back and do it again).
  • Increasingly we are seeing a requirement for referee email addresses and on most online application forms it won’t let you complete the application form unless you provide those details.
  • Some require you to include not only the month and year of your employment with each of your employers, but also the day of the month. Again it won’t allow you to complete the application form without those dates.
  • Do read the instructions carefully before you start the section on employment history, as some companies require you to include periods of unemployment and the reasons for that unemployment. If you don’t fill all those dates in (like I didn’t the other day!) then again it won’t let you complete the application.
  • With some employers there is a requirement for a minimum of three referees.
  • Commonly, a series of questions are asked usually surrounding why you want the job, safety issues as well as other questions pertinent to that particular industry or profession.
  • When you get to the section on Education, Qualifications, Training and Licences, take it slowly and carefully because if a company is non-Australian they may use these terms interchangeably. Misunderstanding at this step can result in you not including the most pertinent qualifications, tickets and licences that the company is seeking.  When your application form is then run through an applicant tracking system, you won’t meet the criteria and will be rejected at that stage.
  • Whether a company requires a Cover Letter or not varies so be prepared for that too.
  • Make sure you have all your qualifications, tickets and licences scanned so that they can be uploaded, as well as a current copy of your Resume of course.

Like any other part of your job search, preparation is critical when completing online application forms, and in this case preparation will save you a lot of frustration.   I am sure I have forgotten some of what I have experienced in completing online application forms so please take the time to comment on this post and add your experience to the above list.

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