Talencio’s Complete Guide to the Job Search Series: Part Six – Applying For Jobs
It takes a massive amount of time and effort applying for jobs. You’ve networked, scoured job sites, attended events, and drank more coffee than you ever thought possible.
The three most common ways of applying for jobs are:
- Apply directly with the hiring manager as a result of a networking connection
- Apply through a recruiting firm
- Apply online for an open position
For the purpose of this blog, we are focusing on applying for jobs via online applications. 55 percent of hiring professionals use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to screen candidates for jobs. 35 percent of small companies use an ATS. An ATS saves employers time by sorting strong candidates from the weak but they also have some downfalls, many of which can be averted.
To avoid getting caught in a dead end, check out these 12 tips for applying for jobs online:
1. Before you click on the submit button, determine which ATS system the employer is using. It may be on their job page. If not, hover your mouse over the “apply” or “submit resume” button and note the destination URL and whether an ATS is being used. That knowledge will help you to further strategize on the best way to get your application in front of the right person.
2. Understand that it is all about the perceived return on investment that you can provide to the company you are applying to versus what the company can do for you. Many approach their search in terms of what a company can do for them. Keep in mind that the company has a need and is looking for the right person to fill the role. You are in competition with your peers and need to show the value you bring.
3. Thoroughly read the instructions for submitting an online application and precisely follow them. A mistake could cause you to hit a dead end.
4. Thoroughly read position descriptions. Only apply if you are qualified and don’t waste your time or the employer’s time. We experienced an individual applying for all the open positions we posted online over a 6 month period and it is not possible for this person to be qualified for everything. That person received “do not recruit” status from us for their lack of discernment.
5. Only apply for jobs you actually want. Save yourself and the company time by focusing on what you want.
6. Identify keywords and tailor your cover letter and resume. Your resume is not a tattoo. It should be modified to capture the keywords the company uses in their position description. This tip is one of the most important because ATS’s rank candidates based upon a number of factors and one of those is the number of times keywords are included in the cover letter and resume.
I like to create a T-chart and embed it into the cover letter. The T-chart includes the position requirements in the left column. In the right column, articulate specific examples that highlight your alignment with the company’s need. The T-chart may make your cover letter long however, it bridges the gap between the company’s needs and your resume. And, the cover letter will include all the key words from the company’s position description.
7. Your LinkedIn profile is not a tattoo. Modify your profile, incorporate key words and align it with the job for which you are applying. Within LinkedIn, make sure you turn off your privacy settings (Share job changes, education changes, and work anniversaries from profile) so you are not broadcasting every time you make an edit to your profile.
8. Submit an error free application. You are competing against other candidates so don’t let an error take you down dead ends.
9. Avoid abbreviations unless there are abbreviations in the position description. Match the language you use with the employer’s terminology.
10. Maintain one candidate profile per company. Multiple profiles within an ATS may cause confusion and you may be eliminated in a filtering process when you should not.
11. Fully complete the application and fill out every field. Demonstrate your interest in the job and ensure the ATS does not eliminate you because of a blank field.
12. Check twice before submitting. You’ve heard the old adage, “Measure twice, cut once.” Do the same with your application – review it before hitting the send button!
Submitting an application for an online posting is one of a myriad of tools in your job search. Use it well and at the same time, keep up your professional networking and relationships with search firms to uncover your next opportunity.
Talencio has been the preferred provider of vetted, accomplished professionals to the Health Technology Community for over 13 years. To learn how other companies have partnered with Talencio, tap into our skilled professional talent pool, or learn about career opportunities, contact us at 612.703.4236 or by email.
Written by: Paula Norbom, President and Founder of Talencio