Best practices for filling out online job appliications
January 22, 2014 7:08 AM Subscribe
I'm currently looking for a second /part-time job and have been filling out 3-4 online job applications a day. I've been a freelancer for the last ten years and found most of that work via word of mouth or through personal recommendation. For this reason, filling out job applications is relatively new to me, particularly online, and I have some questions.
A few things I already know (though if I am wrong please correct me!): I know to tailor my resume to the job that I'm applying for. I know to upload a cover letter when possible. I don't skip any steps even when a field to be filled out is clearly 'optional'. And, though I've noticed some applications ask for quite a bit of redundant information (for example, an entire, required section that is basically a resume, despite the option to upload one's resume), I carefully fill it out and assume that this is what the hiring manager will be looking at (not my uploaded material).
What I'm asking is for any practical information, tips or 'insider' advice from hiring managers and mefites in the know. Some questions I have are:
– Though uploading a cover letter is stated to be "optional", does it actually count against one to not included it?
– Is it better or worse to leave blank the optional race/gender section that is typically tagged at the end of job applications?
– What is the best way to handle the 'preferred salary' portion? Best to leave it blank? Lowball? Highball? ("Best" in terms of getting an interview).
– Am I wasting my time filling out online applications?
I wonder if the online applications is the format that hiring managers tend to ignore in favor of other preferred, unspecified format such as hardcopies being sent in or personally delivered – even though websites tend to specifically asks applicants not to do this. (I ask this because I recall in my brief career as a an admin the unspoken thing was that email/online resumes were largely ignored in favor of hardcopies, even though the company's website specifically encouraged people to use the site).
Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance.