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Are You Bailing Out Too Early on Online Job Applications?

Topics: Data & Research
online job applications

How long do you stick with an online job application before giving up? If you’re like one in five employees, the answer is less than 10 minutes.

A recent survey from CareerBuilder and SilkRoad showed that 20 percent of job seekers give up on a job application if it takes too long. How long is too long? About  two or three screens on a mobile device.

The survey, which was conducted by The Harris Poll, also showed that 68 percent of job seekers “believe their experience as a job candidate reflects how the company treats its people.”

The survey results confirm a significant shift of power from employers to candidates – largely fueled by sustained low unemployment and widening skills gaps that are making it more and more difficult for employers to find and keep the talent they need to compete,” said Irina Novoselsky, CEO of CareerBuilder, in a statement. “Nearly one-half of employers said it’s taking them longer to fill jobs today than in any other period in the post-industrial era – which not only costs money, but has an impact on productivity and speed to market.”

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What You Can Do to Make It All the Way Through

Of course, sometimes it’ll still be in your best interests to stick with an online job application. In that case, there are things you can do to increase your chances of getting your resume to a real, live person.

“Applicants can customize their resume to the specific job for which they’re applying,” said Michelle Armer, Chief People Officer at CareerBuilder, speaking with PayScale. “Finely tuning your resume will increase your chances of landing the job. In addition to tailoring their resumes, applicants can avoid sabotaging themselves by avoiding the following common mistakes on their resumes, which are all instant deal breakers.”

Armer listed these common pitfalls that can keep applicants from landing the job:

  • You don’t proofread. The overwhelming majority (77 percent) of hiring managers say they instantly disqualify resumes with typos or bad grammar. Give your resume a once-over or ask a peer to review it before sending it in.
  •  Your email address is burpmaster69@hotmail.comAn unprofessional email address is a turnoff for 35 percent of employers. For the sake of your job search, it’s probably time to retire that email address you’ve had since 7th grade.
  •  Your resume lacks results. Thirty-four percent of hiring managers want to see quantifiable results on a resume. For example, did your efforts help increase sales revenue? Win over new clients? Increase page views or open rates? Consider your various professional achievements and think of ways you can attach numbers to them.
  •  Your formatting is an eyesore. Twenty-five percent of hiring managers won’t even bother with your resume if it’s just long paragraphs of text. Make your resume easier to read by formatting it into sections with bold headlines (education, work history, etc.) and use bullets to break up the text.
  • You include TMIA resume that’s more than two pages is far too long in the eyes of 17 percent of hiring managers. Try to keep your resume to one page by including only the information that pertains to the job at hand.

Can You Tell Them There’s a Problem?

If an employer’s job application process is really failing, it’s fine to raise the issue with the company, said Armer.

“As an applicant, you can personally reach out to a company’s HR department to apply directly if their application format is not working well,” she said. “As the labor market continues to become more competitive, companies are shifting their focus to the candidate experience, and problematic recruiting practices should be brought to employers’ attention. Companies are placing increasing importance on their employment brand and what you, the job seeker, think about their business.”

Just remember to keep it professional and don’t start off that email with, “This is why you suck.”


How long do you stick with a online job application before bailing? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

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