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Online applications to stand out among hundreds and thousands…


How to make it look like you put some effort into your online application.

Do you remember learning about positive feedback loops in school? My memory is a bit rusty but from what I remember something A leads to something B, which in turn leads to more A, and then more B… or something like that. Now, the reason I mention this is because it can be like this when you are applying for jobs online.

  • You apply for a job
  • You wait to hear back about job A and you never do
  • You still don’t have a job. So you apply for another job, or hey why not apply for two to increase your chances of hearing back
  • You don’t hear back
  • You apply for three jobs this time
  • You don’t hear back
  • Apply for four
  • Get mate to call you to check phone still works. Yep works.
  • Then five- you get it right? I’ll spare you the infinite loop.

Now, a scientist first recognized feedback loops in the year… boring! The history of the feedback loop isn’t at all relevant to you getting a job so I’m sure you aren’t interested.

Guess what else isn’t relevant to you getting a job – your runner up trophy from the year four athletics carnival. Ooooh snap. An employer isn’t going to bring you in for an interview when they are looking for an Office Assistant because you had the second fastest legs when you were three-feet tall.

No one is going to call you unless your resume says, “Look at me, I have some matching skills and/or relevant experience and I put a bit of effort into this application!”

The best way to make it scream is by tailoring it to the job ad. Yes, this may take slightly more time than the generic “apply all” strategy. But here’s the thing… that generic strategy doesn’t work.

Instead, expand on your relevant experiences and skills from previous employment or education.

The add asks for, “customer service skills” and your current resume reads:

  • May 2007- Jan 2008 Dog Walker
  • Feb 2008- 2010 Bakery Attendant
  • Blah blah blah… boring list of job titles.

Think of it this way, if when you bitch to your bff after a bad day at work, it’s about the jerk who complained about too much whip cream on his donut, you may have experience in customer service! So why are employers not reading about your amazing client focus and your creative problem solving skills on your resume?

Because you assumed the employer would know that you were the head cashier at Sprinkles Bakery. You handled all customer complaints with a smile on your face while filling pastries, as your job title ‘Bakery Attendant’ would lead one to believe. Someone once told me that when you assume you make an ass out of you and me. Instead of making an ass out of yourself, tell the employer exactly what they need to know about you on your resume. Pretend as though they have never worked at Sprinkles and have no idea what tasks are assigned to the ‘Bakery Attendant’. If possible, make it point-form and easy to read.

Make sure the things you are highlighting are relevant to the job you are applying for. For example, if an employer is looking for their next office assistant to file important client documents and answer the phones, they don’t care that you were in charge of whipping the butter for the frosting. They care that you alphabetized the pastries in the display so customers knew exactly where to find the macaroons. Thanks to your organisational skills and high attention to detail, they are where they belong- between the lamingtons and nut bars. Relevant, job specific information- Voila!

Disclaimer: This strategy does not work for all situations. If you are a bad-ass criminal with a rap sheet so long your lawyer is number one in your speed dial and he refers to you as his ‘kid’s tuition’ or ‘the new beach house’… maybe don’t apply for a job as a legal assistant boasting ‘years of experience as a lawyer’s aid’.

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