Careers & Coffee: Filling out online job applications

careers and coffee podcast

In this episode of Careers & Coffee, Liz and Dan dive into some details about filling out online job applications.

Dan Holterhaus 0:00
All right, we’re back after a little hiatus from careers and coffee, coming right back at you. With our coffee,

Liz Kennedy 0:09

Dan Holterhaus 0:10
How are you doing?

Liz Kennedy 0:12
Well, we have not stopped drinking coffee even though we have stopped. We were a little bit of a hiatus on the podcast. But that was because we were doing career fair.

Dan Holterhaus 0:20
We had a career fair. Last week, we had, what over it? We had over 30 employers down in New York City Market. Yeah. What was our final count on job seekers?

Liz Kennedy 0:31
Well, we had about 60 job seekers come by, but there were a few that didn’t stop by our booth. But I would say that success was just such a tight market right now, you know, there aren’t that many people looking for jobs. But there are a lot of people needing people to fill roles. And you know, it’s it’s always hard to get in a two hour period people to show up in one place. So especially during pandemic, so I was I was proud of how it worked out. And everyone’s pretty happy. The job seeker feedback was great. They enjoyed it. They felt like they got a lot out of it. Good, good conversations with employers. And you can’t really say that on an online experience, for the most part.

Dan Holterhaus 1:11
Right? Yeah. Yeah, I would echo that. And also a lot of good feedback on the location. I think, being a new boss, City Market, downtown Cedar Rapids, we had a nice afternoon, maybe even a little warm, because we were an indoor outdoor career fair. So yeah, man, it got even a little toasty toward the end of the sun coming in. But overall, I think, really good experience, both on both the employer side and job seeker side. And there are some jobs available right now.

Liz Kennedy 1:43
Yeah, so I mean, we had a mix of roles, too. So it’s like, for manufacturing, to technology to anything and everything in between it was it was really quite the mix. So our next career fair probably won’t be till spring, but you just wasn’t really good to get back in the swing of that career fair and and get out there and talk with job seekers?

Dan Holterhaus 2:07
Yeah, absolutely. All right. Well, we are going to talk a little bit today about filling out an online job application. Yes.

Liz Kennedy 2:20
Some feedback we got from some job seekers was like they wanted to hand the resume to the employer and employer was like, yeah, just fill it out online. And that may seem kind of rude, you know, to a job seeker that like, put all the effort in, like printing out their resume and bringing it. But the reason that that is, is a lot of employers are trying to eliminate, like any form of bias from their hiring prospects. And so what they need in order to do that is to have like a consistent way that they receive applications. The choice for that is online, because that is where most people are applying. And so you know, you’re really not seeing too much of mail your resume anymore, or drop your resume off. Like that is not something we’re seeing anymore in job applications. And so filling out an online job application is a skill that every job seeker right now needs to have. And we know you’re not a professional job seeker, there’s no such thing. So we just wanted to cover a couple tips on that today in the podcast.

Dan Holterhaus 3:19
Okay, cool. What do you got for us? Okay, so

Liz Kennedy 3:22
the first thing is internet access, obviously, you’re going to need Internet access to fill out an online job application. But stable internet access is a different thing. So sometimes you’re like maybe in a coffee shop and you’re on Wi Fi, and it goes in and out. That’s really not the best place to fill out a job application. So if, if you don’t have home access to internet, which some people don’t, the library’s always a good choice, I will workforce development is another choice. You can go in there use the computers fill out online job applications, but you want that stable internet connection so that your time is not wasted, because a blip in the internet causes you to lose all of your work. The next thing is just kind of have your resume and cover letter on hand. And when I say in hand, I mean in like an electronic file. You’re going to want either a PDF or a Word document of your of your resume, and you want it if you are using someone else’s computer, you’re going to want to put it on a flash drive or some kind of portable drive where you can email it to yourself and then pull your email up on that computer. That’s another way of doing it. But just having that available to you so that you can easily copy paste from one thing to another because a lot of times if you’re going to apply for a job, you’re going to be creating an account on an employer’s career site, which is I know it’s annoying, but that is your that is your best way of connecting with that employer oftentimes. So you’re going to be creating that account. You’re going to be copy and pasting from your resume. Sometimes you’re going be uploading your resume, they’re gonna ask you for your job history. So just having all that stuff ready to go is just going to make the process go a lot smoother. Um, when I was applying for jobs, what I did was I would take my work history and put it in complete chronological order, in a word in like a notepad document, which is just like a, there’s no formatting or anything in a notepad. And I would put it in there. So I could just quickly copy paste into fields. Just just so that you are not struggling with like bullet points and all this boring, stupid, like Word documents stuff.

Dan Holterhaus 5:36
Oh, that’s a really good point. Because a lot of times, even if you do a resume upload, they still ask you to fill out different fields that might be on your resume. Yeah, if they copy paste over, so good. Okay, I like that. So just a regular just text document. Plain Text Document, copy, paste.

Liz Kennedy 5:54
Yeah. And there’s some funny like, on Reddit or on Twitter, you’ll see job seekers complaining, like, why are you asking me to upload my resume? I just give you all my information. And so yes, it is a struggle is real, you’re not alone. It’s an it’s super annoying process. But the goal is to get a job, and so you’re just gonna have to suffer through it.

Dan Holterhaus 6:15
Okay, I got one question. Yeah, go ahead. One question. Before we go to that the next one? Um, so would you say, as far as a resume goes? Do you think trying to get all your work history on one page is a good idea? Or if you’re, you know, your work history is fairly, you know, substantial? Is it okay for your resume to spill onto a second or third page as well?

Liz Kennedy 6:42
You know, I don’t really know the answer to that question, I think it depends, it depends on the level of the role that you’re applying for. So let’s say you’re planning for an executive position, a two page resume may not necessarily be a bad thing, because they’d show that you’re, you’re ready for that level. But if you’re just applying, if you’re switching careers, perhaps like you’re moving from one career path to another, having a two page resume, it’s just, it’s just not going to get looked at necessarily, because these employers they have, and you might not even be an employer, it could be a bot that’s reading your resume. It’s just looking for those keywords of the skills that they’re looking for, or the experience level that they’re looking for. And if you’re going above and beyond that, might almost kick you out sometimes. So I prefer I mean, I think most most recruiters would ask that you share the most relevant work history with them. Maybe not every, because like you how many jobs have we had Dan may have had seven jobs, I don’t know how many jobs I’ve heard a lot. I’m not gonna include them all. It’s not I’m not going back to high school. So I think relevancy is important skills that relate to the job that you’re applying for are important. And also just kind of your any of your soft skills, if you can bring those to light. And what we mean by soft skills is like your, your ability to relate someone else as a human being your empathy, your, your friendliness, if you can have those come through in your resume. And it could just be as simple as the the objective statement that you have in your resume. So like, my, my goal is to, you know, find a job in blank because blank, you know, if you have an objective like that, if you can craft it in a way that kind of brings your humanity to light that’s gonna stand out.

Dan Holterhaus 8:34
Yeah, very good. Okay, cool. All right. I want to hear what’s next on your list there.

Liz Kennedy 8:39
Okay. So the next step is just commitment. Right? The hardest step, right? We’re all distracted. Like, the fact that Dan and I are having this podcast and we’re not doing anything else right now is like a miracle.

Dan Holterhaus 8:56
30 tabs open on your other screen, I

Liz Kennedy 8:58
know, six or seven right now. Only 949 in the morning. So I’m sorry, like, yeah, so commit to 15 minutes 15 to 20 minutes for a job application. And just get through one. If you’re on indeed and you’re doing like an easy apply. That’s that’s a whole different ballgame. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about if you’re, if you’re looking at, let’s say you’re going to be applying for a job at true north or something. And you’re probably going to have to go into their company career page, create an account and fill out an application that will get you into their system. And what it does is it reduces duplication efforts. Because if they’re interested in you that you’re going to have to fill out the application anyway at some point and then it’s then it’s kind of irritating for a job seeker. It’s like, well, I already gave you my resume. Why do I have to fill this out as well. I’m doing that first. This is going to be helpful to both you and the employer because they can understand in a formatted way how you flow into this system commitment,

Dan Holterhaus 10:04
then I kind of see it as a little bit of a gatekeeper type of move to right, like so. So if you’re on the employer side, you’re thinking, Okay, is this person committed to? Are they willing to go a little bit above and beyond even though we might already have the resume? Are they willing to go through this next batch of steps to get this done? Like, how invested? Are they getting this? how committed are they?

Liz Kennedy 10:31
Yeah. And you might think, well, it’s a job seekers market right now, I shouldn’t have to do this. Well, in an ideal world, no world, No, you shouldn’t have to go above and beyond to get a job that you’re qualified for. But it does help you stand out. And really, at this point, what what job seekers need is, is a really good fit, right? So you want to find something that’s a really good fit for you. And so if you feel like the job is a good fit for you, you should do a little bit extra to get that get considered for that position. And then you’ll you can work out all the other details in the interview, interview process.

Dan Holterhaus 11:11
I like it. Okay, anything else really go to the order before we wrap up.

Liz Kennedy 11:17
Because the good of the good of the coffee, yeah, just review your application before you hit that Submit button. Um, simple things like making sure your name is capitalized. If it’s in, you know, a field where your name should be capitalized. Don’t be lazy about some of that data entry. Because that it, it shows when someone’s reviewing your application, like, Oh, they didn’t bother to check this out. I’m making sure your your your contact information is accurate. So your email that you’re going to be using is the one that you will be checking. So that it doesn’t, so that you don’t accidentally ghost the employer, if they want to reach out to you and they’re reaching out to you on an old email and you’re not checking it, then it just, it really is bad for your job seeker reputation. So double check before you hit submit. And then, um, you know, we always say this, but it doesn’t hurt to say it again, just check out your online profile. So what does your Facebook look like, to the public? So you can check that out by going to Facebook, and searching for yourself? And maybe logging out I actually Facebook has a tool in there that will show you like, here’s what my profile looks like to other people.

Dan Holterhaus 12:36
Right? Yeah. That’s very good. Good tips. And not only Facebook, but you know, all your social media and LinkedIn Tick

Liz Kennedy 12:43
tock, Instagram everyday. Yeah, yeah,

Dan Holterhaus 12:46
we need to check all the boxes if you are on any of those platforms. So

Liz Kennedy 12:51
yeah. Yeah, well, good luck, everyone. I know it’s a tough time right now to be job seeking, because it’s because it seems like a lot of choices. And if you’re not getting a lot of response, you may feel kind of alone, but reach out to us. Let us know if you’re having trouble. We’d be happy to help. And any topics you want us to cover and careers and coffee. Be sure to put those in the comments.

Dan Holterhaus 13:13
All right. Thanks, Liz. That was awesome. Talk to you again soon.

Liz Kennedy 13:18
All right. Bye bye.

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