How To Submit A Stand-Out Online Job Application

How To Submit A Stand-Out Online Job Application

Are you looking for a new professional challenge? Growing tired of the job you currently have, and need a change? Or are you perhaps a fresh graduate looking to secure employment for the first time? 

Whatever your career path currently looks like, there’s no doubt about it – landing a job can be challenging. There are so many factors to consider, many of which can seem overwhelming at first. However, there are ways to simplify the process and ensure that you submit an application that makes you stand out from other candidates. 

Below, you’ll find our top steps to making sure you submit the best possible application for any role you apply for. 

Step #1: Make Sure Your Resume Fits The Role

Everyone has a resume, but not everyone has a resume that’s the perfect match for the advertised position. 

Your resume should be clear, concise, and should include:

● Your personal details
● Your education (and any degrees or accreditations you’ve acquired)
● A detailed history of your work experience
● Written references or contact details of your referrals 

Be sure to keep a copy of your resume that’s up-to-date and can easily be edited. This will allow you to quickly tailor it to suit the role you’re applying for. Be sure to include keywords that stand out and that recruiters or potential employers will spot immediately. This highlights your suitability for a position right from the start.

Step #2: Draft An Original Cover Letter

All too often, recruiters are faced with generic cover letters that do very little to prove that a candidate is the right fit for the job. Not all job applications ask for a cover letter, but it’s always a good idea to add one. 

Furthermore, if they do specifically ask for you to include a cover letter, you best do so, as this means they’re more than likely to read it. 

When drafting your cover letter, make sure you write one that’s specific to you, your career, and any notable accomplishments. You should list your achievements and experiences that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, and include how you’ll use your knowledge and expertise to best fulfil the role. 

Remember: your cover letter should showcase:

● Who you are
● What your qualifications are
● Any notable achievements or successes
● Why you think you are the best candidate for the job 

Step #3: Make Sure You Understand The Job Description

It comes as no surprise that for most recruiters, the biggest annoyance they face is candidates not reading or understanding the job description, and applying regardless. 

It’s one thing to take a gamble if you’re slightly underqualified, but it’s an entirely different matter to apply for a job you’re nowhere near qualified to be doing.

For example, if you’re just starting out in the working world, applying for a high-level management position is unrealistic, as is submitting an application for a field that requires experience or a certain qualification that’s instrumental to being able to do the job. Submitting your resume in these cases would simply waste a recruiter or potential employer’s time.

When you read through a job listing make sure you do so thoroughly. Take the time to understand exactly what your prospective employer requires. 

Don’t ignore the finer details either – if you do manage to get through to the interview round, you may be asked about them, and falling at this hurdle won’t count in your favor.

Step #4: Clean Up Your Social Media Profiles

Cleaning up your social media profiles can go a long way in helping you progress through the online job application process. 

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms are so accessible these days, making it incredibly easy to catch a glimpse into anyone’s personal life. 

Although we may not always realize it, recruiters often turn to social media profiles to get to know a little bit more about the candidates they’re considering. This has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. 

Take a good look at what you post online, and consider whether or not the image you portray is a positive one. If it’s not, delete whatever you feel would be a negative reflection of your personality.

Alternatively, you can change the settings on all of your profiles to private so that only your name and image is viewable. 

Top tip: Always keep business and personal information separate. This ensures no lines become blurred. 

Step #5: Make Sure Your Application Is Complete

Nothing is more infuriating than asking for information and not having it when you need it. Now, imagine how it must feel for recruiters who are constantly looking for information they clearly stated must be included in an application, yet applicants have failed to do so. 

You may be the perfect candidate for the job, but if you don’t submit the required information, you won’t make it any further in the recruitment process. A recruiter won’t waste time following up on missing information, they’ll simply move on to the next candidate. 

Your application is a representation of who you are. 

Prospective employees need to know that you’re able to accurately follow instructions and execute the necessary actions. Before submitting your application, read over it a few times, and then double-check the requirements and information needed. 

Only click the ‘submit’ button when you are 100% satisfied you’ve ticked every single box. 

Step #6: Keep Your Communication Professional

The tone you adopt when dealing with potential employers will give them great insight into your ability to maintain professional relationships. 

Right from the start of the online job application process, ensure you keep all communication as professional as possible. While your resume is the first step to making an excellent, lasting impression, you need to back it up with the communications that follow. 

For example, make sure that the tone of your emails is always businesslike. The more professional you keep your interactions, the more you display your ability to interact and communicate at a business level. 

If you’re having a telephone or video conference call with interviewers, be sure to use professional language to the best of your ability. Also, try to make a point of staying as calm as possible, no matter how hard that may be. 

The calmer you are, the better you’ll express yourself, and the easier it will be to answer questions concisely. By staying calm and collected you’ll avoid babbling or talking too fast – both of which show a lack of professionalism. 

The way that you present yourself to a potential employer is how they will envision you representing their business to any clients. 

Step #7: Do As Much Research As Possible

“Knowledge is power" - Francis Bacon (1597)

This one may seem obvious, but doing as much research as possible into the company you’re hoping to work for can set you apart from other candidates. 

The more you know about the company, the more interested you’ll appear to recruiters. Employers want to know that whoever they hire is dedicated to their role. They’re on the lookout for the best possible team members, because happy employees make for excellent work ethic and high productivity levels.

Knowing when the company was founded, as well as what it's vision or mission statement is, will serve you well in interviews, and you can even work a bit of your knowledge into your cover letter. 

For example, by stating that you share similar values and ethics as the business, you’ll be displaying not only your research, but that you hold these values in high esteem too. This automatically makes you a good fit for the corporate culture, and will be viewed positively. 

Step 8: Prepare As Much As Possible

Nothing in this world works as well as being prepared. Once you’ve progressed to the interview stage of the recruitment process, it’s best to prepare as much as you possibly can.

Feel free to ask whoever invited you to the interview who will be interviewing you, and what their roles at the company are. 

As mentioned in Step 4, it’s incredibly easy to find profiles online. Use this to your advantage, and understand a bit more about your interviewer’s role in the company, as well as how your role works alongside theirs, should you be hired. 

Top tip: Ask a friend or mentor to assist with your interview preparation. Let them ask you a series of questions and pose several scenarios that you need to comment on. This will go a long way to boosting your confidence, and will put you more at ease when the real interview arrives.

Step #9: Ask Plenty Of Questions

As much as an interview is a chance for your potential employer to get to know you, it also serves as an opportunity for you to get to know them. Not only will this provide you with extra information as to how the company works, but it will also help you to determine whether or not this is the right company for you. 

Great questions to ask include: 

● What the team structure or hierarchy is
● Who you will be reporting to
● What a regular day in the office is like
● What success looks like for the role – and how is success measured
● Are there opportunities for growth or development?
● If there are any questions they have about your suitability for the role

When you ask questions, you highlight how serious you are about the job, and illustrate that you’re interested in fulfilling the position they have on offer. 

However, think about the questions you ask clearly. There are some that may seem important to you, but won’t be viewed positively in the eyes of the interviewer.

Questions NOT to ask include:

● How much leave you’ll be getting?
● How soon after your onboarding will you get a day off?
● When will you be eligible for a raise or a promotion?
● How much sick leave is available?
● If the working hours are flexible? 

Step #10: Be Polite And Keep An Open Mind

Being polite has never cost anyone a cent. Make sure that you’re polite throughout the recruitment process, even if things don’t quite go as you hoped. 

Be sure to make a point of thanking everyone for their time, and for sending follow-up emails after any interviews. Even if you’re not selected for the position, thank the recruiter for letting you know they’ve decided to go in a different direction, and for taking the time to consider your application. 

This is important, as it could create professional inroads at a later stage of your career. A polite, professional demeanor will help you to network and leave a lasting impression. You may well then be considered for another similar role that you’d have otherwise lost if your attitude was questionable.

It’s also equally important to keep an open mind. While the answers you get to questions you ask might not be exactly what you imagined, keeping an open mind will go far in helping you see things from a different angle. 

Perhaps you’ve asked how certain operations are run, or how procedures work, and you’ve been given an answer you didn’t expect. Don’t take this as a bad sign or a reason to walk away. 

The potential employers have likely been working in the field for quite some time, and have a good reason for the way they conduct their business. While it may be different from your experience, it doesn’t necessarily make it bad, and you can always view it as a learning curve, or a way to gain more knowledge of your industry.  


The world is going virtual and online job applications, virtual interviews, and digital resumes are the way of the future. These 10 steps to submitting an online application that stands out from the crowd will help you to secure the job you really want.

You can use them to refine the way you apply for new roles, and can implement each step in a way that best suits your industry. 

Recruiters and potential employers are sure to notice you if you put these ideas into practice. And that’s exactly what you want – to stand out and make a fantastic, professional impression. 

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