Man looking at a job application on a tablet computer

10 Tips for Completing an Online Job Application

If you’re looking for a job, you’ll probably have to fill out online applications. Some applications can take quite a while, and it only takes longer if you’re not sure what to do. Following are 10 tips on completing these job applications to improve your job searching game.

  1. Do not lie or exaggerate positions you’ve held.
    Above all, do not lie on the job application. It may seem tempting, but most employers can tell when you’re not telling the truth. Another thing you should avoid is exaggerating your experience, such as saying "computer repair technician" when you really just fixed friends' computers.
  2. Highlight relevant experiences.
    Each resume should be tailored to the job you're applying for. If you’re applying for an IT position, you can leave out your retail experience from your teenage years unless it was several years of giving great service and omitting it doesn't leave a "hole" in your work history. Instead, highlight the experience you’ve had working with technology and computers.
  3. Don’t worry if you have no relevant experience.
    If you’re fresh out of college, you may not have any work experience in the field you want to enter. Fortunately, there are other things you can do to ramp up your resume. Include any side projects you may have done in the past. If you’re interested in a sales position, display any experience you’ve had involving sales, even if wasn’t an official “job.”
  4. Use proper grammar and spelling.
    Your resume should be clear of any spelling or grammar mistakes. Any errors of this nature cause employers to dismiss your resume. If you are unsure whether or not your application has mistakes, you can use a free service such as Grammarly to weed out errors. 
  5. If you can include a cover letter, do so.
    Cover letters make you look professional. A cover letter is just a one-page letter that introduces you to your employer. It should include any relevant experience and the reason you want the job. A cover letter is what you use to sell yourself to your employer.
  6. Identify keywords in the job description and use them.
    As sad as it is, many employers now use technology to sort through dozens of resumes at one time. This software finds who is eligible based on keywords that are used throughout your application. If possible, include these keywords where it sounds natural. Never overload your application with these keywords, as it can seem stilted and forceful.
  7. Fill out all of the fields.
    By filling out every field, you’re supplying information that can help you get the job. Completing the application in whole shows your desire for the job. However, be wary of adding false information to fill an empty field.
  8. Don’t steal the job description.
    When you’re writing a cover letter or explaining why you want the position, it's good to use the job description as a guide, but use your own words in the cover letter. Using your own words shows why you want a job and displays your passion, whereas copying and pasting the description tells an employer you’re not interested or that you’re lazy, whether it’s true or not.
  9. Include any volunteer work.
    Employers love it when you have volunteer experience. It shows you care about the community, and you’re willing to help without getting paid. It’s also an excellent way to get character references. Volunteer work can show you’re a hard worker.
  10. Showcase your personal accomplishments.
    If you’ve done something you’re proud of, such as won an award, mention it somewhere in your application. Showcasing your accomplishments distinguishes you from everyone else and shows you’ll complete your goals. It may also show off a few skills you may not have thought about, such as Photoshop skills you picked up making simple graphics for a class or another project.
Last Updated: February 26, 2016