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.

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.

Our values vs company values

When we find ourselves in the position of being unhappy in our job, often we can’t work out just why we are unhappy.  We trawl through the tasks we do and find that we enjoy most of them.  We mostly like the people we work with and the hours we work. So where does the problem lie?

The answer may be found in values. Our values vs company values. In drilling down to the core of the problem, quite often we find a lack of alignment between what we value and what our employer values. Try asking yourself this question. What behaviours tick me off at work?  Make a list. Then ask yourself this question.  Are these the same behaviours that tick me off in my personal life?  The answers to these questions give us a pretty good indication of the values we hold.

Sometimes, when we analyse the reasons for our unhappiness, the results are such that we are in a position to make changes that improve the situation. However, if a misalignment of values is the problem, and we have no control over employer values, it may be time to accept that the relationship is a mismatch, and it is time to move on. In moving on, we have learned a valuable lesson, to make sure as far as we can, that a potential employer’s values sit comfortably with our own.

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.

Managing Job Applications following Redundancy

Some people thrive following redundancy perceiving it as an opportunity, while others experience a profound sense of anger, failure or loss.

When we are first made redundant, for some, the temptation to apply for anything and everything is very strong, and perhaps also those around us, with the best of intentions, think it is the right strategy.  The trouble is this approach usually ends up demoralising us, as we all too often experience rejection letters relating to jobs that are really unsuited to us.  Once that demoralised feeling descends, it may show in how we speak, carry ourselves and approach our job search which further impacts on outcomes.

What can we do? We can take a more controlled and considered path, applying only for those positions where we can demonstrate qualifications, knowledge, skills and experience against 70 to 80% of the selection criteria.  This strategy increases the likelihood of job search success.

Taking Success for Granted in a Job Application

Quite often people are relieving in a position or are hired on a temporary basis.  In these situations the position is eventually advertised and usually the temporary incumbent applies along with anyone else who is interested.

Many of the relieving incumbents take it for granted that because they are already acting in the role, the job will be given to them and consequently a blasé approach is taken.  As a result, more often than not, they don’t get the job. When this happens, they sometimes react angrily and don’t understand that it is their own failure to prepare appropriately that has brought about their lack of success.

If you have been acting in a role and have now applied for permanency in the position, prepare for it as you would if you were coming at it cold, that is, as though you have never worked for the organisation before.  This approach will give you the best chance of success.