Making Applications Online

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        Careers Service
Making Applications Online
Introduction                             • If the recruitment site includes a           have thought about the skills you
                                           self-assessment test it allows you           have developed and the ways in
Recent years have seen the growth of       some input into the process                  which you have developed them.
the internet as a means of                 - am I suited to the work? Is this
recruitment. Many companies are            organisation right for me?                   It’s no different when applying online.
now offering the option of applying                                                     You will still need to provide evidence;
to vacancies advertised via the web as   • Good sites will give you instant             the only difference is that you are
a means of not only speeding the           feedback - strengths and                     entering the information onto a
application process up but also to         weaknesses, chances of getting a             screen rather than on paper.
save money.                                job
                                                                                        Do your research - use the company
                                         • Gives you another measure of the             website and any other information
The benefits for companies                 organisation - is the process                you can find to establish just what it is
and organisations using a                  efficient? Can you track your                they are looking for.
web-based application                      application?
process                                                                                 In addition, to help you in the process
                                                                                        of tracking down evidence to show
• The whole recruitment process is       On the whole, there are probably               the development of your skills, you
  faster                                 more benefits to making applications           might also find our ‘Transferable
                                         online than drawbacks.                         Skills’ handout useful.
• The process is simpler - less paper
                                         You may have some concerns,
• It gives the organisation instant      particularly with regard to security, the
  information, e.g. how many             automation of the recruitment
  applicants, where they are from,       process or access to the technology
  what universities they attend etc.     (whether this is physical access to the
                                         computers or whether special needs
• Promotes the view that an              prevent you from applying online). If
  organisation is up-to-speed with       this is the case and you have concerns
  technology                             that fall into the above categories,
                                         contact the organisation and see how
• Enables recruiters to build in tests   they respond; it can be another useful
  at the start of the recruitment        judge of how responsive the
  process                                organisation really is.

What are the benefits for you            Starting your application
as a student?
                                         The preparation that you make for
• The whole process is faster -          applying online is really no different
  usually, you can expect a rapid        from what you would make normally.
  response to your application           Essentially all recruiters will be
                                         selecting against criteria, i.e. the skills,
• Online forms can be quicker to         knowledge and experiences they
  complete                               believe are critical in a particular job.
                                         They will usually have questions on
• The system is more objective           the application form that will target
  - rejection on the grounds of bad      these competencies and ask you to
  handwriting won’t happen               provide evidence of how you have
                                         developed them. This requires you to
How does it all work?                    • Take care not to approach the form       The response could be a ‘maybe’,
                                           as you would e-mail, which can be        in which case you may be asked
                                           a very casual form of                    to submit more information.
Step 1 - Preparation                       communication, remember it’s still
                                           an application form!
Go through the process outlined                                                     Your CV online
                                         • As a final precaution and to ensure
previously to identify the evidence
                                           that you are making the most
you need to present to the recruiter.                                               When applying for a job you may also
                                           effective application possible, it is
                                                                                    be asked to send your CV via email.
                                           useful to get the content of your
                                                                                    Here are some guidelines to follow if
                                           form checked by a Careers Adviser.
Step 2 - Enter the                                                                  this is the case:
                                           The Careers Adviser can also be
                                           useful in spotting any grammatical,
                                                                                    • Check with the employer what
                                           spelling and/or keyboarding errors
• You will usually need to register                                                   format they would like your CV -
                                           that you may have missed.
  your details and be asked to                                                        they may not accept attachments
  provide a password
                                                                                    • Approach the email message as
• As all communication will be via                                                    you would a formal written
                                         Step 3 - Submit your form
  email it is important that you check                                                covering letter
  your email regularly (you might
                                         With online forms you can usually          • Keep it short and focus on the
  also want to think about creating a
                                         save what you have written but it is         requirements of the post applied
  separate email address for all your
                                         important to check this. Once you are        for - once again, think about the
  job application related
                                         happy with the finished product              evidence you can present to the
  correspondence – think about the
                                         submit your form and wait for the            recruiter
  image you want to convey to the
                                         offers of interviews to come rolling in!
                                         It will help to print off the finished     Another development, that some
• Download the form and think            form for future reference.                 employers have adopted, is the
  about how you are going to                                                        scannable CV - a CV written in a
  approach your answers to the                                                      format which can be read by OCR
  questions posed - create draft         Step 4 - Your form is received             (Optical Character Recognition)
  responses                                                                         software. Essentially this is software
                                         Some forms will be automatically           which turns printed text into an
• Put the information on the
                                         scanned using software, which is           electronic format and is then read by
  screen bearing in mind that less
                                         programmed to pick up keywords in          artificial intelligence to select
  is generally more and resist the
                                         your application, or it may be printed     candidates through recognition of
  temptation to ramble on. Some
                                         out and read by a human being (most        keywords and/or acronyms relevant to
  forms will not put a limit on the
                                         recruiters are keen to stress that         the industry. Over the page are some
  number of words you can use in
                                         applications are seen by people and        guidelines to follow:
  responding to the questions and it
                                         not just assessed electronically)
  is important to provide concise and
  coherent answers to the questions
                                         Either way, you should get a response
                                         back from the organisation pretty
• Check your spelling and grammar –      quickly.
  recruiters can be very particular
  about this
                                         Step 5 - Response
• Most online forms do not include a
  spell-check function. Check this
                                         Nothing new here; congratulations,
  manually yourself or get someone
                                         they would like to interview you or no
  else to help, don’t rely on a
                                         thanks and good luck for the future.
Do                                       Don’t                                 Further Help

• Use a serif font e.g. Arial or         • Use italics, shadows, reverses,     Application Forms - Handout available
  Courier. Font size should be             shadings or anything else which     from the Careers Service
  between 10 and 14 points                 may prevent your CV from being      or online at:
• Leave white space at the top and
  between sections                       • Use boxes, graphics, vertical and
                                           horizontal lines
• Be specific in defining your                                                 Transferable Skills - Handout available
  experience                                                                   from the Careers Service
                                                                               or online at:
• Use only bold and/or capital letters
  for section headings
• Place your name at the top of the
  page and use a standard address                                              Ask to look at the DVD:
                                                                               Your Job’s Online.
                                                                               Available to view in the Careers
• Use solid bullet points.
                                                                               Service and also available to view on
                                                                               any campus computer.
                                                                               Check the website for full details:

                                                                               Access to an online application form
                                                                               practice tool - you do need to register
                                                                               with the site to use this.

                                                                               This handout is available in other
                                                                               formats on request.

Careers Service
The University of Salford
Humphrey Booth House
Salford, Greater Manchester
M5 4WT. United Kingdom
T +44 (0)161 295 5668/5088
F +44 (0)161 295 5922
E                                                           Updated July 2007