Many employers encourage you to apply for jobs online. This can make the application process easier, but competition for jobs is still strong, and if you want your application to progress, you have to be just as diligent as you would with a printed job application.
Before you apply
Research the company to help prepare your application:
- Visit the employer's website - you need to demonstrate broad knowledge of the organisation and explain why you want to work there
- Read the selection criteria carefully - many companies use software to scan your application for certain words or phrases, and if you don't address the selection criteria, your application won't progress
- Print the form, read it and compose your answers on paper
- Read the instructions carefully - if you don't follow the instructions, your application could be binned before someone reads it
Completing the form
- Address all the selection criteria
- Check your application for spelling mistakes and incorrect grammar usage - type your responses into a word processing program so you can run a spell check before pasting it into the online form
- Don't exceed suggested word limits - make your answers short and sharp, but still informative
- Take your time when completing the application
- Don't send a generic resume - tailor it for each job application because one tailored resume equals a hundred generic ones
- Make sure you've followed all of the instructions carefully
Unless instructions specifically advise you not to, always supply a carefully prepared cover letter, just as you would with a printed and posted job application. Take special care to address the selection criteria because they may use scanning software to process it. You may not have to attach the cover letter as a separate document, but may need paste the contents into the form instead.
Different file formats for your resume and cover letter
Find out what format the employer would like your resume and cover letter to be in. Some may specifically ask for:
- Word documents (.doc)
- Rich Text documents (.rtf)
- Text documents (.txt)
Or some employers may ask for any of the above. Just make sure you supply your resume and cover letter in the format they request.
Get yourself a professional-sounding address. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org is far more professional than something like email@example.com. Small details like this can make a real difference and set you apart from other applicants. A playful email address is fine for friends, but for a potential employer, it doesn't create the image of a professional person.
After you've applied
It's normal to apply for heaps of jobs and not get a response, let alone the opportunity to attend a job interview, but don't be deterred. Continue looking and applying for jobs online, but remember that there are other ways to find jobs that aren't advertised through the hidden job market.
Victorian Government Careers
Tips and ideas for applying for Victorian Government jobs.