As a recruiter and former job-seeker alike, it’s easy to realize the benefit and frustrations of the online job application process. For most, the job search process can be discouraging (sub: tedious, drawn-out, time consuming, unnerving…). The added frustration of online applications frequently going unacknowledged doesn’t help the cause.
Candidates are regularly surprised when we reach out to discuss their online application, especially when it happens within a 24 hour window after applying. Even more often we hear “Oh wow, I wasn’t sure this was a real job.” While some staffing agencies have been known to advertise generic postings to help build a pipeline of qualified candidates, it tends to be less prevalent than candidates think. The reality is that you are probably applying to jobs you aren’t qualified for. We’ve compiled a list of tips to maximize your likelihood of a “call back,” and to aid in setting yourself apart from the herd of other (usually unqualified) applicants.
1. Read the job description.
More often than not, we run into “serial appliers.” Most of us have been guilty of this at some point. This includes: seeing a company you are mildly-to-wildly interested in, skimming a few lines of the description, and firing off your universal resume.
Take the time to read through the summary, the responsibilities, and most importantly, the qualifications. Be able to explain how you are qualified, why you want to do this job, and how the recruiter will be making a big mistake by not submitting your application to the hiring manager
2. Be qualified.
Being confident that you can pick up anything given the right amount of time does count for something, but it only carries you so far. A manger’s ideal candidate requires minimal training. When reviewing the qualifications section you should match 90% of the required and at least half of the desired skills. If you’ve always been interested in learning Ruby on Rails, but have only been working on the Help Desk since graduating last semester, maybe the Senior Ruby Developer isn’t a realistic next step. Move on.
3. Shape your resume (yes, for every job.)
This is huge. It takes time, thought, and effort but the payoff is well worth it. Tailoring your resume to reflect the job verbiage will catch the eye of whoever is initially reviewing your resume. Even if you aren’t a perfect match, you’ll be more likely to get a call to discuss further.
From a recruiting standpoint, our inboxes are generally flooded with online applications. Most of which, are terribly under qualified, not local (and serious about relocating), and unresponsive to our calls because they can’t keep their information straight after applying to so many jobs.
Take the time to get serious about your job search. Read the full description, save it to your desktop. Tailor your resume and research the company. Be responsive. If you are reached out to – realize and share the sense of urgency– managers will not hold on jobs because you’re busy at work, have karate on Tuesdays and cooking class on Wednesdays. It’s a competitive market; get your game face on.
The online application process is an efficient, convenient and a great tool if used right. Utilize the above tips and give it another try. You might even end up with a job.