Do online applications set up the jobseeker for failure?

Do online applications set up the jobseeker for failure?

Sunday, October 13, 2019

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Dear Career Advisor:

I am noticing that many vacancies advertised are asking that applicants complete online applications instead of sending in résumés. I am job hunting and I am wondering if this approach decreases my opportunity to show my versatility through the presentation of regular application documents.




Dear Mandy,

Indeed, many organisations are opting for an online application process rather than the traditional paper- or e-mail-based application package. The online form allows the recruiter to elicit from the applicant a concise description of the specific skills, competencies, and experience in which he is interested. Each applicant's detail is fed into the organisation's application database and allows for easier review and comparison with those of other prospects. The structured format of the online application form is intended to eliminate or reduce the likelihood of the applicant submitting information that is not relevant to the specific requirements of the job. Therefore, instead of being a hindrance to the applicant it is more of an advantage, as it allows you to zero-in on what is important to the employer.

Notwithstanding, it is important that you pay as keen attention to completing the online application form as you would if applying using the traditional approach. Here are a few things to remember:



1. Carefully read the job advertisement and job description.

2. Note the key requirements.

3. Prepare a cover letter tailored to the company and the specific position.

4. Update your résumé so that it is aligned with the requirements of the advertised position.

5. Have your documents readily accessible when you are completing the form


Completing the online form

1. Follow directions — Read instructions carefully before you begin. Ensure that you enter the correct data in the correct field.

2. Seek advice — If any part of the process is unclear, seek guidance.

3. Complete optional fields — Mandatory fields are normally marked by an asterisk and the temptation is to avoid those that are not. You are encouraged to complete all data fields, mandatory or not. Use comment boxes to show that you have done your reading on the company, or to highlight special skills and competencies that you have that will be of benefit to the company.

4. Use keywords — Ensure that you populate your responses with appropriate keywords and phrases associated with the specific job requirements or the profession

5. Proofread – Always proofread your application to ensure it is error-free before submitting.

6. Submit –—Ensure that the submit process is complete. Make note of any auto-response message or instruction as to the next steps.

If you follow the above guidelines, completing online job applications will be stress free and will, in fact, enhance your chance of landing that desired job.

Best wishes with your job search.


Career Advisor



Carolyn Marie Smith is sssociate vice-president of student services at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Manchester. Submit your questions to her at

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