The Perils of Online Application Forms

Some online application forms prompt you to upload your resume before commencing completion of questions. The idea is that the ‘tool’ then automatically completes most parts of the application. A great idea in theory, but more often than not the automation is riddled with errors. Skipped and scrambled information is not uncommon. It becomes very important then that you check and double check each item to make sure they are filled in correctly before you press that submit button.

Online application forms can be testy little beasts.

LinkedIn as a Job Search Tool

linkedin-911794_960_720People are telling you to get on LinkedIn it’ll get you a job. You open a new or existing account, upload a photo of yourself, set up a profile, fill in some sections, and wait for ‘it’ to happen. And wait … and wait … and wait. So what is it you’re doing or haven’t done that needs your attention? How will your profile be found among so many?  The following steps may help.

  • Log into Linkedin and go to the menu at the top of the page
  • See your photo with Me written under it? Click on the drop down arrow
  • Go to Settings & Privacy under Accounts
  • Scroll down to Job seeking Preferences and work through each section shown there

Before you address this section make sure all other details in your LinkedIn profile are up to date and look professional. If you are using LinkedIn as a job search and networking tool, regular maintenance is essential.

Press Pause

‘Sometimes the simplest and best use of our will is to drop it all and just walk out from under everything that is covering us, even if only for an hour or so—just walk out from under the webs we’ve spun, the tasks we’ve assumed, the problems we have to solve. They’ll be there when we get back, and maybe some of them will fall apart without our worry to hold them up.’ ~ Mark Nepo

Photo Courtesy of Teddy Kelley on Unsplash

Important! … Have I got your attention?

Do you know you have an additional referee to those listed on your resume? Well you do and that referee is called Google. When you apply for jobs, at some stage of the process, over 90% of recruiters and potential employers will Google your name to see what comes up. They aim to look at what you say and how you behave on social media. When clients come to a consultation with me I talk to them about this, and how it can have an adverse effect on their job search.

One of the biggest mistakes people make with their Facebook account is the belief they have set the privacy settings correctly to make their posts private. The quickest way to check this out is to do the following.

In Facebook, click on your Profile, now go to the little dots beside View Activity Log and click on View As. Go to the top of the page and you should see “This is what your profile looks like to: Public”. Now look at your posts. What do you see? What will a recruiter see? Have you shared or posted content which may potentially harm your career?

If you are now worried about what has been shared publicly and want to clean it up, go to Settings, click on Privacy and in the second section is an option to ‘Limit Past Posts’. If you click on that and select Friends, the previously public postings will now be private and no longer visible to the public. Check out all privacy settings while you are there. Repeat the process periodically to make sure nothing slips through.

Choose Referees Wisely

I took a phone call recently from a recruiter doing an applicant reference check.  I was listed as a referee on the applicant’s resume. The only trouble is I’ve not worked with the person for about ten years, and nor have I spoken to them in that time. Nothing I could say would advance the applicant going forward as I couldn’t speak to a decade of their employment, or even say they’d been working. It brings me back to what I have spoken about before in relation to referees. I can’t emphasise it enough, where possible, they need to be your most recent supervisors, and you need to maintain regular contact checking your referee details remain unchanged, and keeping them up to date with what you are doing. There are a few, but a very few exceptions.

Resume Retention

As my clients know, I hold resumes I’ve prepared on file so that in the event of loss of USB sticks or if a client needs a resume to be forwarded when working FIFO, I’m able to assist with that need. As I now have so many files, from today, clients who have not accessed any service for five years or more will be deleted from the system.

Are you sabotaging your job applications?

Clients come to their consult with me armed with certificates, cards, licences and copies of old resumes. Some are on the ball and all documents are current. Others are disorganised, expired material mixed in with current so they take some sorting out. Also, various certificates and cards can be missing altogether! Confusion reigns. Anxiety can arise when I suggest destroying old documents and cards. I can understand that, for some they represent a part of their working life and memories. What concerns me is the risk. How often is expired material submitted by mistake, consequently sabotaging a job application?

So what to do? Here are my thoughts …

  • Gather up every document old and new, sit yourself down at a table and sort them into separate piles, one pile for current and one for expired. Make sure you include all your cards.
  • Check all possible places where you may have put anything relevant, e.g., your wallet or the dashboard of your ute (yes people do file them there)!
  • Check all dates thoroughly.
  • If you can’t bring yourself to destroy the old copies, file them in a plastic pocket, place in a Manilla folder and file them far, far away from your current documents and cards.
  • Scan the current documents and cards (back and front for cards) and save them into a computer file which includes your name in the file name.

You are now ready to make job applications confident that all documentation surrounding qualifications, tickets and licences are current.