Job Applications Gaining Importance

February 26, 2014

…………..In years past, if you wanted to work at a particular company, you sent its recruiters your resume and a cover letter. Now you often have to complete a detailed application as well. Aileen Richards, the Head of Human Resources of Mars Candy, recently told me that company-sponsored applications are gaining importance in her organization because they provide quick answers to manager’s most important questions.

You may view applications as more work during your job search process, but they will give you an opportunity to differentiate yourself. With an application, you are able to drill down on exactly what the hirer is looking for and respond to those requirements. A recent college grad who won a plum internship at the White House told me she spent more time on the application for that job than she did on any of her college essays.

Carly, a current college student, just applied for an internship related to her pre-med field. Although she had some industry related volunteer work she focused on her summer waitressing job in her application. “They wanted me to describe a challenging situation where I persevered,” she said. “The internship I was applying to is all about working incredibly hard and taking orders from a bunch of different people. It sounded like I needed to use some of the same skills I used in my waitressing job so I wrote about that. The pressure filled kitchens and demanding wait staff managers don’t really come across in my resume.” Carly was one of the 20% of the applicants who were selected for the next step, the interview.

The company application may just look like another impediment to employment but if you take time to consider what the hirers are seeking, you’ll boost your chances of getting in the door.