Creating the right online application

How to make an impression in an online application form

Standardised application forms make human resources managers’ job easier. Large companies especially use them more and more often. Giving the standard online form a face requires some patience and creativity however. We’ll tell you how to give your application form character.

Whatever you do: fill in the entire online application form

Unlike email applications, with an online application you write your information directly into the application form. What you write will be stored in a database, which makes the job easier for the human resources manager: they can specifically compare different candidates’ work experience, age or certain skills with each other.

There are two main kinds of application form you will encounter online:

  • The short type:
    Few boxes in a small form asking for your most important information. If you make it past this first round of selection, the human resources manager will then ask you for more documents.
  • The complex type:
    This application form was specifically programmed for the company. Here you need to stay calm and don’t get frustrated! With a little bit of patience, you’ll have filled out all the boxes in no time.

Applying online: don’t rush anything!

Standardised application forms sort the candidates according to predefined criteria. Of course, you don’t know what these criteria are when you’re filling out the online application. Nonetheless, you can make the form work in your favour: read through the job advertisement carefully and answer the questions with the requirements profile in mind. But always be honest.

Your online research has been successful? Now there’s only an application form standing between you and your dream job – however, restrain the twitching of your fingers. Prepare everything calmly and do a test run through the application form by entering fictional dummy answers. In that way, you can analyse all the categories first and create space to prepare specific sections of text on your motivation, your strengths or your career plans.

Tip: your should provide a CV, cover letter and references in one PDF (maximum 3 MB). You can usually upload the file directly in the application form.

The final polish: how to make your online application stand out

Not there? Not there! The application form suggests answers, but the one that fits you perfectly isn't there? Never mind. The next best answer will have to do. If you leave too many boxes blank, the system will remove your application.

Take the chance to express yourself! Open questions with text entry boxes are your chance to answer freely and really let your personality shine. Be creative: “What my colleagues value about me is…” says more than “I like teamwork…”.

Get a fresh pair of eyes to hunt for mistakes. Just like the traditional application portfolio in paper format, an online application needs to be completely free of mistakes too. Have someone you know check for grammar and spelling mistakes.

Place keywords to grab attention. Some human resources managers look through applications received online for keywords. You can count yourself lucky if you have included the attributes they’re looking for. Words that grab attention include achievements, foreign languages and also memberships in professional associations that are important for your position.

So that you know what you wrote the next day: Make screenshots – of every step of your online application. They will be very useful for questions during the interview.