7 Mistakes Applicants Make When Applying for a Job Online

By Rebecca Henninger

The internet certainly has made our lives easier. We’re able to go online and order just about anything we want. Social media has brought people all over the world together in a way never before possible. And we’re even able to apply for jobs right from the comfort of our own homes. No one even has to know if you filled out that application while still in your pajamas!

While online job boards such as Indeed or LinkedIn have made the job search and application process much easier, there are still quite a few mistakes applicants make when applying for a job online. To make sure you avoid them, I’m sharing them here so you don’t lose your chances of landing that dream job.

1. They fail to check the company’s website before applying.
It should come as no surprise that it’s a huge turn-off for an employer when you apply to one of their open positions, but you don’t know a single thing about their company. Before you submit your cover letter and a resume, take some time to look over the website and even the social media profiles of the company you’re applying to. Get to know their mission and brand values.

You can actually work these details about the company into your cover letter, which will help you stand out from other applicants. It shows that you’re educated on the company and makes you appear serious about the job you’re applying for. It will take some extra time on your part, but it’s well worth it in the end because it will grab an employer’s attention.

2. They forget the cover letter.
When you go through the process of applying for a job online, in many cases you’ll see that a cover letter is actually optional. While you may be thrilled at the thought of having a little less work to do, skipping it is one of the biggest mistakes applicants make when applying for a job online.

You should always include a cover letter with your resume. Why? They’re the perfect way to introduce yourself to the recruiter who will be reviewing your information, so you’ll want to showcase your qualifications. Tell them exactly why you are a perfect fit for the job. And as mentioned above, this is a great opportunity to work in some details about the company you’re applying to. Prove to them that you’ve done your research and that you know all about them.

3. They don’t tailor their resume with relevant keywords.
Hate to break it to you, but the odds that your resume gets read in full are pretty slim. Major companies that are likely receiving hundreds of applications for each open position simply don’t have the time to review each one. Instead, these companies will use something called an Applicant Tracking System to review the resumes they receive.

An Applicant Tracking System will process resumes and sort them based on specific topics or keywords. If your resume is missing those key elements an employer is looking for, it’s likely that the recruiter in charge of hiring will never see it.

To ensure your resume is getting seen, you need to optimize it for the appropriate keywords. Take a look at the job listing and consider the keywords the company could be looking for. Then, all you have to do is add the ones that are relevant to your skills into your resume. It’s an extra step, but very worthwhile in helping you land the job.

4. They can’t back up their expertise.
It’s not enough to say you are a hard-working and dedicated employee. By just saying it, you aren’t offering any proof and you’re counting on a potential employer to just take your word for it. (And they don’t even know you yet!) If you’re going to make a claim about your skills on your resume, you need to back it up. Share an example of exactly what makes a hard-working and dedicated employee. They’ll appreciate it and it’ll maximize your resume’s results.

5. They skip proofreading.
Applying for a job online might make the process easier, but it doesn’t give you the right to slack off. Before you submit anything to a potential employer, you should always take a couple extra minutes to read through and make sure all the information is accurate and typo free. Spelling and grammatical errors never look good, so always double or triple-check if you have to.

6. They don’t bother creating a job seeker’s profile.
One of the mistakes applicants make when applying for a job online is simply applying to jobs, without taking it one step further. Many job boards actually allow you to create a “job seeker” profile where you can upload your resume to be discovered by employers. This provides a way that they can come to you, instead of you having to seek out the available jobs.

Take the time to create a job seeker profile on these boards and keep them updated. You want to make sure they display all the most recent information in case a potential employer was to stumble upon your profile. You never know who might see it or what it could lead to. It just might be the reason you land that job you’ve been dreaming of!

7. They have a questionable online presence.
While you’re obviously entitled to your personal life, there are certain things that are acceptable to post online and others that aren’t, especially when applying for a job. If you have public social media profiles, they will show up if a potential employer decides to run a search on you.

Before you start applying for jobs, take a look at the profiles you have and the updates you’ve posted. Photos of you and your friends partying, excessive cursing, and a lot of public rants are not going to look good to an employer. In fact, it just might cost you the job. Take the time to clean up your social media profiles before beginning the job search and keep it clean from now on.

Have you been making any of these mistakes when applying to jobs online? If so, it’s time to make a change! The sooner you start correcting these mistakes, the better your chances are of landing that job. Good luck!

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