For many, in today’s fast-paced world, having to fill out a job application is one of the most tedious exercises that a person can be required to complete. Job Seekers have been conditioned into thinking that quantity is the key, such as the more positions you apply for, the better opportunity there is to land a job. The thought being that it is a “numbers game”. Spending time on a job application, therefore, keeps you from the next potential job. In my mind, make time for all of them if you are really serious about new employment.

Usually, the number one roadblock to becoming a submitted candidate for a position is the completion of the mandatory application or online profile. It can be easy for a Job Seeker to dismiss the importance of this step, but for a Recruiter or Hiring Manager, the document carries significant value. Beyond the need to have a formal submission of candidacy, the profile/application can provide some valuable information that will be used when assessing you.

The successful completion of a job application is as much about what “not” to do as it is what you “should” do. Let’s take a look at some of the careless errors that Job Seekers make when completing the job application/profile. Be sure to avoid these mistakes and you will pass a hurdle that trips many candidates.

  • Assuming the Resume Covers It: A company is almost always going to expect you to have a Resume (except for some entry level type positions), yet they still ask for an application. What this means logically is that they don’t want you to just write “see Resume” in every section of the application. The primary reason is that they want you to sign a document effectively ensuring them that what you are stating about your experience/qualifications/accomplishments is true. Many Hiring Managers also find that using the application is easier to navigate to find information quickly rather than having to dive into the entire Resume.
  • Doing the Minimum: Similar to people who just write “see Resume”, is the group of applicants who just write what is absolute necessary to get the application done. You are missing out on a terrific opportunity to sell yourself on the document. Also, keep in mind that the employer wrote the application/profile questions, so this is the information that they most want from you. 
  • Writing Mistakes: What often happens when you want to get something done quickly, is that mistakes occur. You must be very careful that, in your haste to complete the application, you don’t commit some typographical errors that will sabotage your candidacy. A change of mindset, away from getting the document done as quickly as possible, may be all that is needed to correct this situation. It would also help to take a moment and read through all that you wrote prior to hitting the submit button, to make sure everything looks accurate.
  • Give Up: It is amazing how high the drop off rate can be for positions during the application process. Now, it is agreed that the employer should be looking at drop off numbers and assessing where the pain points are that are causing departures. This should result in adjustments especially if they discover the process is too long. A surprisingly high number of applicant exits, however, occur during the application/process.   This is pretty amazing because an applicant has to have enough of an interest in the position to want to apply, but at the first sign of effort, decides to drop out of the process.
  • Complain About It: Even if the application process was long and tedious, use caution when providing that feedback to the prospective employer. It will be hard not to come across as someone who was not willing to provide more than the minimal effort during the process. If you are sharing this with the Recruiter, you are probably providing criticism to the person who wrote the document.

An application or online profile fills a variety of needs for the employer, including being an official submission of your candidacy for legal purposes. While completing these questions may seem redundant to your Resume and a waste of time, it is a necessary part of the current process. Like with everything you do with your job search, take the completion of this step seriously and provide the answers being requested, while looking for opportunities to “sell” yourself during it.

As always, best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of RochesterJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein
WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at:
Joe Stein


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