“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” This quote, attributed to retired racer Bobby Unser, describes so much of the job search process. You can be given every opportunity to succeed, but without the appropriate preparation you may not successfully find the right job for you. Preparation is a critical element to a successful job search, a successful job application, and a successful job interview. With that in mind, let’s talk about how to properly prepare for completing an online job application
1. Take Care of Your Needs
If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re stressed out, relax. If your kid wants to play, play. Get your stuff in order before you sit down, because your full attention is needed to the application. If you are distracted you cannot give your best answers. Some online applications time your responses and can give a score based on that.
2. Know the Job You’re Applying For
Print the job description, circle or highlight the keywords you want to use, and use them in the application. Remember that there’s a computer searching your application for those keywords; you want to make sure they are there. This is also the best way to sell yourself. You shouldn’t fill out applications for two different jobs the exact same way; there are different skills you will want to highlight. If you’re applying for a customer service job, you will need to highlight your people skills; if you’re applying for a job working in a stockroom, the customer service skills may be less important.
3. Gather Your Data
Something you might forget about an online job application is that it will ask for more information than your resume can answer. The application may ask you for the street address and phone number of your old employer. Prepare ahead of time. One good way to prepare would be to complete a generic application for your own records so you can have the information sitting next to you in an application format.
The online application screening process can be complicated. It’s not just about putting your name into the hat of applicants anymore. You have to know the system and beat it. Taking these steps to prepare for an online application might give you a better opportunity for success.