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Employers that receive large numbers of applications will usually use an online application process. The online form is designed to discover evidence that you have the skills and attributes that match their selection criteria. It is also an efficient way for them to eliminate unsuitable candidates. Your goal is to make sure you aren't eliminated by ensuring your application clearly shows your suitability for the position. To do this your answers need to be:
A job application needs to be formal and well thought out, so don't try to complete an online application in an hour! Follow all the tips below before copying and pasting your answers into the online form.
Take your time to think about and understand the employer's questions and provide clear, concise answers. If a question includes 2 or 3 sub-questions, be sure you have addressed each component of the question. Take a break from the application, read it again a day later, then edit your answers carefully.
The employer gives word limits because they want you to be concise. Don't answer too briefly as it can appear unenthusiastic. If you are given an allowance of 250 words, then your answer should probably be no less than about 190 words.
Before you worry about the word count, think about what you really want to get across in answering the question. Write out a full answer in your natural style, then edit it back by eliminating unnecessary words and choosing more concise vocabulary.
Don't answer behavioural questions with a general or theoretical answer. The employer already knows WHY a skill is important. For example, if they ask "Describe a time that you contributed to a team", they want an answer that shows the actions that YOU took that made you a good tam member in that situation. Give specific, concrete examples of actions you took in that situation.
The employer has a reason for every question they ask. Don't make the mistake of thinking some questions are less important. If you are stuck on how to answer a particular question, speak to Jobshop staff on your campus for ideas and assistance. A skipped question is reason enough for an employer to eliminate your application.
Even about something 'unimportant' like hobbies or interests. If an employer discovers you have been untruthful in any way, they will not trust any of your information.
Read all instructions on how to apply carefully and follow them. If anything isn't clear, check with the employer or visit Careers staff to ask questions. Do not give the employer any reason to reject your application.
Online application systems vary, however many will ask you to register and give you a username and password so you can start the form and complete it later. This will allow you to save the form and come back to it later. Make sure you re-read the form each time you return to it.
Remember, the employer may be able to come in and read your draft.
Always check what you have written very carefully, and make sure you are satisfied before you submit any section of an online application. If you cannot print off your completed application before you submit it, keep detailed notes as a reminder so that you can prepare for the interview when the time comes.
Most will give you the chance to review the form after completion and before submission. Make sure you a print a copy of what you submit as you can't usually access your form again after submission.
Most online applications also require you to attach other documents such as your resume, a cover letter or copies of your transcripts.