This article addresses the issue of online job applications specifically, as it seems that the bad habits that come with browsing the Web have permeated to the job application process. It is no secret that our attention span on the Web is very short. For some reason, this impatience has built itself into how we respond to job postings.
Following are 3 bad habits to avoid at all costs:
1) Applying to positions we are not qualified for. The Web has streamlined how we communicate with each other. We often see postings on the Web we “may” be interested in and quickly apply to them without giving it more thought. That is the path to failure as the whole process is built on wishful thinking. Most people who have this habit will then have a tendency to send a short email, along with a generic resume (or no resume at all!). Recruiters can easily identify these types of applicants and will not waste their time reviewing these applications. For these applicants the issue really is: If you are not interested in the position, why bother applying and, if you are indeed interested in the position, why don’t you put more effort into it?
2) Lack of professionalism when applying online. It is certainly true that the Web has broken a lot of frontiers, including that between people. We are much more informal on the Web. Some people push this attitude too far however to the point of using the wrong “tone” when applying for a job. Keep in mind that a certain degree of formalism should remain. It’s preferable to lean on the safe side. You probably have heard that when attending a job interview, better dress conservatively (except if you are an artist, or working in the creative field) than push your luck. At the end of the day, you will be hired for your competence. You don’t want your outfit to be a distraction. Same thing for your job application. You don’t want anything to distract the employer when reviewing your job application. Being too informal could have a nagging effect on some recruiters and might jeopardize your candidacy.
3) Failure to recognize competition. The internet has leveled the playing field by allowing more job seekers to gain access to more job postings. Jobs posted online are accessible to anybody who has an internet connection. With this increased exposure comes increased competition. Yet, many job seekers fail to fully acknowledge this reality. When posting an opening online, an employer can be bombarded with as many as thousands of applications. Knowing that, you should ask yourself what you have done to stand out.
There are no shortcuts to finding a job. Time is of the essence. Choose which jobs are worth applying to carefully and spend as much time as needed to put all the odds on your side. You only need one job, so focus on tailoring each of your applications. It’s not an odds game. Applying to many openings won’t necessarily increase your odds if each of your applications don’t make the cut.