Navigating The Digital Job Application Process at Every Stage

By: Ari Howard

Searching for a new job can be stressful. From searching for jobs you are interested in and qualified for, and writing countless cover letters, to preparing for an interview with an intimidating manager, the entire process of acquiring a job can be exhausting and time-consuming. 

To many, job-searching can feel like a part-time job that you have to manage on top of your current job, course work or family obligations. The worst part? You could spend all this time perfecting an application and then never hear anything back. 

Although no one is immune to rejection or ghosting, there are things you can do to make your chances of scoring an interview and receiving a job offer much higher.

Here is everything you need to know for each stage of the job searching process. 

Navigating the digital application process

01

Include keywords from job posting and active verbs in your resume

02

Personalize your cover letter – talk about your accomplishments and highlight your understanding of the company

03

Filters on sites like Indeed and LinkedIn can help add efficiency to your job search – and help you reallocate time to other areas

04

Ensure a professional background and strong internet connection during interview

05

Come to the interview with questions

How do I stand out on my resume?

Writing a resume that shows off your skills and qualifications in a concise manner is its own art form that often takes multiple drafts to nail. Here are some of the most important resume tips you should follow:

  • Include keywords – When you are searching for jobs online, note the keywords the job listing includes in their requirements section. Use those words throughout your resume so that you stand out quickly as being a qualified candidate. 
  • Update your resume for different jobs – A resume is not one-size-fits-all. When you are applying for a job, make sure your resume best represents your qualifications for that particular job. You might want to change the order of your sections, use different wording to highlight a different skill or even swap out information for more relevant past experiences. If you are applying for a few different job industries, you may want to create a separate resume for each industry. Then, build off whatever resume is most relevant for the current job you are applying for. 
  • Use active verbs – Start each sentence of your resume with a verb that demonstrates your action best. For instance, instead of saying “worked as a mentor,” say “mentored” at the beginning of your sentence. Verbs like “create, lead, initiate, produce, organize, orchestrate and teach” are good examples of active verbs. 
  • Follow standard formatting guidelines – Your resume should be no more than a page and easy to read. Additionally, each section should be in chronological order with your most recent experience at the top of the section. Put your most important sections at the top. Common sections include:
  • Education
  • Skills/achievements
  • Work experience

If you are in college or high school you may include relevant coursework, internships and academic achievements.

What should I say in my cover letter?

Although not always, most jobs also require you to write a cover letter. Keep these tips in mind when you are writing your letters:

  • Don’t be afraid to brag about yourself – Your cover letter is the time to dive deeper into the main ways your skills and experience would benefit the company. Give anecdotal examples of your unique abilities and always tie these examples back to how they would specifically serve the company you are applying to. 
  • Show your understanding of the company – Although your main focus of a cover letter is to showcase your qualifications, also make sure you explain why you want to work specifically for that company. In the first paragraph, provide a sentence or two explaining what you think the company does better than anyone else. Do your research here! A deep level of understanding about the company can really help you distinguish yourself. 
  • Don’t submit a generic cover letter – Your first and last paragraphs should be almost entirely personalized to a specific company. In the middle paragraphs, you can recycle examples of your qualifications and experiences. Just make sure your examples are relevant to the position you are applying for. A helpful tip is every time you write a new section about your qualifications, add the generic parts of the paragraph (everything except what is tailored to a specific company) into a separate document so that you have all of your examples in one place, making it easy to pull from for future cover letters. 
  • Address the letter to a specific person, if you can – To make your cover letter more personal and show you did your research, try to find out who reads the applications and address it to that person. Often the company will tell you how to address the letter in the job posting, so make sure you don’t miss that. If you can’t find a person to address the letter to, say “To whom it may concern.” 
  • Follow standard formatting guidelines – Just like your resume, you will want to keep your cover letter under one page. Cover letters are typically three to five paragraphs, depending on the length of each paragraph. Your cover letter should take a business-like tone and should be written in complete sentences with no slang, emoticons or acronyms. 

How do I find jobs?

  • Look for jobs on career websites – The best way to find jobs is to search for jobs on career websites. The best websites include:
  • Indeed: For finding the most number of jobs listed
  • LinkedIn: For finding jobs where you have connections and for providing helpful job filters
  • Scouted: For recent college graduates
  • AngelList: For finding startup listings
  • LinkUp: Good for finding up-to-date listings
  • Use the filter feature: You can’t possibly sort through all jobs listed. In order to make your search as efficient as possible, include as many filters as you can. Some of the best ones to use, if available, include location, experience level and job type (internship, part-time, full-time). If you don’t have a keyword for a job title, you may also want to use the industry, job type and job function filters. 
  • Network – A major aspect of the job searching process, and arguably the most important aspect, is networking. It is essential that you reach out to people with experiences you are hoping to gain and to people who are working at the companies you want to apply for. The best place to start is to apply to companies that contain employees you know or who went to your college. Before applying for the job, reach out to those contacts and ask to chat briefly on the phone about their experience working for the company and any advice they might have. Reaching out to people in your social circle and alumni is useful because they are more likely to respond than total strangers. Not only could these contacts help give you a sense of what to say in your cover letter or how to stand out on your resume, but they may even put you in touch with the recruiters or push your resume to the top of the list. That can make all the difference. The best way to find contacts is through LinkedIn. However, your friends, family and college career center may also have a list of contacts to reach out to as well. One of the greatest values of college is the network you inherit. Use it!

How should I prepare for my interview?

Zoom interviews have become an increasingly common part of the job searching process. With the coronavirus pandemic, Zoom interviews are practically guaranteed now. Although the interview itself is no different online as it is in-person, there are some additional elements you should keep in mind. 

Here’s how to have a successful Zoom interview:

  • Choose a professional background – Be cognizant of what is in the background during your Zoom call. You will want to avoid any distracting images or movement in the background. This means keeping your background as generic as possible. Additionally, make sure that any part of the room that appears on your screen is tidy and organized. You don’t want your interviewer to be distracted by your unmade bed or by clothes on the ground! 
  • Limit background noises – Although construction and outside noises are out of your control, try to prevent as many background noises as you can. It is often helpful to warn the people around you that you will be in an interview and to silence your cellphone and turn off all notifications on your computer. 
  • Charge your computer  – The last thing you want is to be in the middle of an interview and your computer dies on you. Have your charger plugged into your computer during the interview, if possible. 
  • Find a good internet connection – In order to avoid any glitching or freezing during your Zoom call, make sure you have a strong internet connection. You will want anywhere between 225 to 670 Kbps for a Zoom call. If your internet plan has data caps, be aware that an hour-long Zoom call will use 810 to 2.4 GB of data. 

General interview tips 

Regardless of whether you are meeting in-person or over a Zoom call, you will want to keep in mind the following tips: 

  • Be professional – This includes wearing professional attire, using appropriate body language, smiling and arriving on time to the interview. 
  • Prepare your answers ahead of time – Not only should you prepare your answers to common interview questions, but you should also do some research and find out what kind of questions you might expect from this specific company. Glassdoor is a good place to look for information on other people’s interview experience at that company and to learn what questions they were asked. Go through those questions and make sure you have an answer. Another helpful tip is to come up with a couple of anecdotes that best highlight your strengths and qualifications and could be applied to a number of questions. 
  • Come with questions – At the end of the interview, you will be asked if you have any questions. This is the time to learn more about the company and what your role might look like. The interview process is not only a time for the company to evaluate you but also for you to evaluate the company and decide if it’s a good fit. 
  • Send a follow-up email – Send a thank you email no more than 48 hours after your interview. Write in complete sentences and speak in a business-like manner. However, try to keep the email brief as someone may not read the email at all if it’s too long. To help you write a meaningful follow-up email, take notes directly after your interview so you remember what you talked about. Refer to those notes when writing your thank you email so it is personalized. Make sure to send a separate and unique email to each person who interviewed you. 

With these tips, you should be able to score a job much more efficiently. It’s a lot of work but these extra steps really can make all the difference. Good luck!

Source: Allconnect.com

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Indeed

Get more details on what happens to your resume after you click apply: https://go.indeed.com/what-happens-af… Learn more about what you should expect at every stage of the hiring process: https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/… When you’re applying for jobs online, waiting to hear back can be tough. It’s easy to think that nothing is happening to your application or that there’s nothing you can do. However, after you click “Apply,” your application is analyzed thoroughly by software and multiple people.

It’s helpful to understand what happens behind the curtain and steps you can take to advance your job search during this time. In this video, we explain the online hiring process. You’ll learn how keyword technology impacts hiring, what recruiters look for, what it takes to get to the interview, and tips for what to do while you wait. Here are some important takeaways about what happens to your online application after you hit ‘submit’, plus a few tips to ease your stress during this process.

1. Employers use software to scan your application for qualifications and keywords to sort through the initial candidate pool. Make sure your resume properly highlights your professional experience: https://go.indeed.com/listing-experie… 2. The recruiter will review the software’s selections, looking for more in-depth information like quality of education and the relevance of your skills. The recruiter will sort applications by those that would be the best fit and share those selections with the hiring manager. 3. The hiring manager will review the selected applications and make a short list of candidates for the recruiter to schedule initial interviews with. Keep in mind that this step can take a while. 4. While not hearing back right away can be frustrating, be sure to use this waiting time wisely! This is a great opportunity to apply for more jobs, check in with your references, create or update your portfolio, and practice for your interview. 5. Send a follow up email to the hiring manager or the HR department 2 weeks after you submit your application. Check out this guide for tips and examples on how to follow up: https://go.indeed.com/application-fol… Search for your next job: https://go.indeed.com/indeed_from_onl… Indeed is the world’s #1 job site, with over 250 million unique visitors* every month from over 60 different countries. We provide free access to search and apply for jobs, post your resume, research companies, and compare salaries. Every day, we connect millions of people to new opportunities. On our YouTube channel, you’ll find tips and personal stories to help you take the next step in your job search. Find free** job search services online and in-person: https://www.indeed.com/job-market *Google Analytics, Unique Visitors, September 2018 **Terms, conditions and quality standards apply. #onlinejobapplication#jobapplication#applicationprocess

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