How to apply online

‘Online applications can seem impersonal. But this doesn’t mean they should be treated in a less bespoke fashion’ – Sam Lee-Bapty, consultant, Michael Page International. Gwen Cheeseman gets you on the web

Know that it’s easy – applying for a job online is the easiest way to try and gain employment. It’s fast and immediate, but you should only apply for jobs you’re qualified for. Just as you wouldn’t waste time and money applying for a job you know you can’t do, don’t waste your time on the Internet. If your application doesn’t meet the specification it will be deleted straightaway.

Make yourself stand out – if the online application requires you to upload your CV, make sure it is as accurate and well-laid out as if you were applying with a hard copy. If you’ve changed your CV for the application, run a spell check and proof the layout very carefully. Print out a copy to read through as it is easier to spot mistakes this way rather than on screen.

Be prepared – have your CV and personal details in front of you when you’re applying. It’s tempting to apply for something as soon as you see it but remember that just as it’s easier for you to apply this way, it’s easier for recruiters to delete any applications that have been entered badly or misspelled.

Make technology work for you – some software employed when you apply for a job online can mean your application is rejected before it’s read by anybody. The software searches for key words in your application, and if these are absent, it can mean you won’t get past this first initial stage. Study the job advert and make sure your application echoes it. If the wording mentions being a team player, or a self-starter, include these phrases. If you match the key words they need, you’ve already increased your chances of getting your application read properly by the recruiters.

Don’t buck the system – you might think that sending a CV direct through the post or e-mailing the recruiter will attract more attention. But remember that the online application route has been set up for a purpose. It’s likely you’ll be rejected as you’ll be perceived as an annoyance because a specific method of application has been ignored.