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Finding a Job

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Applying online – applicant tracking systems

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Most large companies use online job application systems, known as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), to manage their vacancies and job applications. Many only accept online applications.

Some people may find this quicker and simpler compared to the lengthy process of filling out a paper form by hand. However, you still need to prepare for this just as you would when filling in paper application forms. There are sometimes added extras you might not expect, like online aptitude tests, quizzes or questionnaires.

Don’t worry though - with a bit of preparation you’ll be able to handle it.

Before you apply

Key words and phrases

Use the information you have on the employer, and the job, to make a list of key words and phrases to use in your answers. You’ll usually find them in the job description or role profile. Look for words that describe the skills, qualities and experience the employer needs. Try to work these into your answers, but only where it makes sense.

Also note down the company’s values, and any other words or phrases that describe what is important to them as an organisation. Why? Because it helps if you describe yourself in the words they use to describe what’s important to them. 

For example, if you’re applying for a ‘customer service assistant’ job and have relevant experience as a ‘sales assistant’ use the job title the employer prefers instead. 

Using key words that are listed in the job advert or specification is also very important for another reason. Some application systems use software to scan applicants’ profiles, CVs or application forms, looking for these keywords. Applications including the right keywords are more likely to get through and not be screened out at the first hurdle.

Completing the application

In general, follow the basic rules for filling in any application form. Read Applying online – general information and Application form hints and tips for more information.

But, there are a few extra things to watch out for.

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