Fresh on Your Job Search? Here’s How to Fill Out Online Job Applications!

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December 7, 2023
Edited by
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min read

3 key takeaways

  • What online applications are
  • How to fill out online job applications
  • Using Teal's Autofill Job Applications to streamline the online application process

An online job application offers convenience and accessibility, allowing job seekers like you to apply for multiple positions quickly (and from anywhere with internet access!).

And not only do they expand your opportunities, but they also streamline the hiring process behind the scenes—enabling a more efficient review of qualifications and, ultimately, faster response and hiring times.

But as the job market continues to become (and will remain!) more dynamic and accessible, a clear understanding of how to fill out online job applications isn't only important; it's essential to a successful and strategic job search.

Understanding online job applications

Online job applications have revolutionized how people approach job searching and recruiting.

Unlike traditional paper forms or a job application email, digital applications are interactive, often including links to online portfolios, LinkedIn profiles, and other assets that showcase your skills, qualifications, and experiences.

Online applications also:

  • Enable you to apply to multiple roles quickly and efficiently, breaking geographical barriers and opening up a global marketplace.
  • Can be tailored to specific roles quickly and easily, allowing you to highlight the parts of your experience and qualifications most relevant to each position.
  • Allow for easier data collection and analysis, helping hiring professionals identify the best job candidates quickly.
  • Make the job application process more accessible to a broader range of applicants—including those who might find online platforms easier to navigate than physical paper applications or in-person visits.

So, where do you start? And what are some best practices for navigating, optimizing, and completing the online application process?

Preparing for online job applications

Navigating online job applications begins long before you hit the 'submit' button. It involves preparing and understanding what hiring managers, recruiters, and potential employers are looking for.

Here’s how you can prepare:

Update your resume

Your job search assets, like your resume and cover letter, connect the dots between your past experience and impact and all you're capable of doing and contributing to a new role.

As your resume is often one of your first points of contact, it's crucial to keep it updated and reflect your current skills, experiences, and achievements.

The best way to update, maintain, (and tailor!) your resume? Build and regurarly rework one base document with all of your past roles, achievements, accomplishments, impact, and wins. (Then, quickly choose the right achievements and skills that align with the specific jobs you're applying to.)

Using a tool like Teal can help you organize and optimize your job search with one platform to create, store, update, and customize your resume in the same place you manage your entire job search and application process.

Research the job description and company

Once you've created a base resume, it's crucial to understand the company and job requirements of the role (or roles) you're applying for.

Taking the time to thoroughly understand the ins and outs increases your efficiency, improves your application quality, boosts your confidence, and sets clear expectations for the role. Here's how you can do it:

Read Carefully: Don't just skim the job requirements and call it a day. Take the time to read and analyze each point of the job posting carefully. Identify keywords and phrases that describe the skills, experience, and qualifications.

Identify skills and experience alignment: Once you clearly understand the requirements, compare them to your own skills and experience. Identify specific examples from your past experience that align

Analyze job duties: Pay close attention to all the information listed job duties and responsibilities. Consider how your skills and experience align with these daily tasks and overall project management. (And consider whether or not these things you're excited about doing in your day-to-day work?)

Evaluate company culture: While understanding the job itself is important, don't overlook the company culture and values. Research the mission, check out the social media presence, and look for employee reviews to get a sense of their work environment and expectations.

Create a tailored resume

After you've done your research, if you've found that a job online is one you're interested in applying for, it's important to tailor your resume to that specific position.

The job of your resume is to showcase the top 10% of your experience that's 100% relevant to the role you're applying to. To do this, incorporate keywords and language from the job description, ensure your experience, skills, and impact are relevant to the company's needs, and update your target title to match or closely resemble the position.

Pro Tip: Once you've created a tailored resume, double-check alignment by comparing your resume to a job description. Teal's Match Score offers an instant breakdown of how well your resume aligns with the job's language, keywords, and skills.

A tool checking resume alignment before filling out online job applications
Compare your resume to any job listing with Teal.

How to fill out online job applications

Now that you understand the prep work, it's time to get into the nuts and bolts of actually filling out online job applications.

  1. Create an account (if required). Many companies use online application platforms that require you to create an account before you can apply. This allows you to save your progress, track your applications, and receive updates from the company.
  2. Fill out the application form. Most online applications will have standard sections like contact information, work history, education, and skills. Be sure to answer all questions accurately and completely in a way that fully aligns with your resume, cover letter, and online presence.
  3. Upload your resume and cover letter. This is your chance to showcase your skills and experience in more detail. Make sure your documents are updated and tailored to the specific job you're applying for and free of errors.
  4. Proofread carefully. Before hitting the submit button, take the time to proofread your application for any mistakes. Typos and grammatical errors can create a negative impression, so make sure your application is polished and professional.
  5. Submit your application. Once you're satisfied with your application, click submit and wait for the next steps.

Fill out online applications with Teal

Want to skip most of the steps above and streamline your online applications? Try Teal's Autofill Application tool.

With Teal’s Autofill, you can make your job search significantly faster. With AI-generated answers based on your previous career history and the job description of the role you’re applying to, you'll have time to apply for more jobs with confidence and precision.

A tool to autofill online job applications
Use Teal's autofill to streamline your application process.

Common online application sections

  • Contact Information: Ensure your contact information is accurate and up-to-date. Include your phone number, email address, and LinkedIn profile if applicable.
  • Work History: List your previous employment positions in reverse chronological order. Be sure to include the company name, location, dates of employment, job title, and a brief summary of your impact and achievements alongside hard and soft skills.
  • Education: List your educational background, including your degrees and institutions attended. If you're a recent graduate writing a resume with no work experience, consider adding relevant coursework or projects.
  • Skills: List your relevant skills and qualifications using keywords from the job description. You should always quantify soft skills by providing examples of how you've used them to have an impact in previous roles.
  • Additional Information: This section allows you to provide any additional information that might be relevant to the job, such as volunteer work, professional certifications, or awards. Just remember the additional information should always be relevant to the job.

Common online application questions

Why are you interested in this position? This is a common question that gives you the opportunity to explain your motivations. Be sure to research the company and tailor your answer accordingly. (And even if your response is, "To make money!" do your best to answer this question on a deeper level in a way that highlights the responsibilities of the role.)

What are your salary expectations? Do your research to determine a fair salary range for the position and location. Be prepared to negotiate (but don't lowball yourself, either).

Do you have any questions for us? This is your chance to learn more about the company and the position. Ask thoughtful questions that demonstrate your genuine interest.

What are your long-term career goals? This question assesses how the position aligns with your overall vision. Show your ambition and desire to grow professionally within the company, and be sure to connect your goals back to the specific skills and experience you would gain in the position or at the company.

Pro Tip: If you need some help answering questions, try using AI tools like ChatGPT for job applications to get a solid starting point you can then tweak and mold to fit your career narrative.

Tips for online job applications

Start early.

Don't wait until the last minute to apply for jobs online. Give yourself plenty of time to research the company, review the job description, and tailor your application materials.

Use keywords from the job description.

Don't just submit the same application for every role. Instead, customize the content every time you hit apply.

Focus on your achievements, not your responsibilities.

What did you accomplish in your previous roles? How did your skills and qualifications make a positive impact?

Keep your answers concise:

Your answers to the application questions should be clear, concise, and relevant.

Follow up with the hiring manager:

After submitting your application, send a follow-up email to thank the recruiter and hiring manager for their time and consideration. This shows your continued interest in the position.

Use a job application tracker

Teal's Job Application Tracker can help you manage your entire job search in one central location.

With Teal, you track every role (from any job board) through each stage of your search, save all of your application details (including contacts and company notes), set follow-up reminders, and more.

Filling out an online job application tracker
Track all of your job applications through every stage in one central location.

Common online job application mistakes to avoid

Typos and grammatical errors: These can make you look unprofessional and careless.

Incomplete applications: Make sure you answer all questions and provide all the required information.

Unprofessional language: Avoid using slang, jargon, or informal language.

Negativity: Don't speak negatively about previous employers or colleagues.

Unrealistic expectations: Be honest about your skills and experience.

Not tailoring your application: Make sure your application is relevant to the specific job you're applying for.

Manage all of your online applications in one place

Online applications have become the cornerstone of a successful job search. They offer incredible convenience and accessibility, allowing you to connect with countless potential employers from anywhere with internet access.

Teal empowers you to navigate the application process with confidence and efficiency. With it, you can:

  • Autofill applications and save time with personalized, AI-generated answers
  • Create, store, and update your resume with ease
  • Gain valuable insights into your resume's strengths and weaknesses with Match Scoring
  • Track and manage your applications in one centralized location

Sign up for Teal for free today and navigate the online application process easily and confidently.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common mistakes to avoid when filling out online job applications?

Common mistakes include overlooking instructions, providing incomplete information, using an unprofessional email address, and failing to tailor your responses to the job description. Always double-check for spelling and grammatical errors, and ensure that all required fields are accurately filled out to increase your chances of making a strong impression.

How can I make my online job application stand out from the competition?

To make your application stand out, tailor your resume and cover letter to the job description, using keywords and phrases from the posting. Highlight your relevant skills and experiences, and provide specific examples. Additionally, make sure to maintain a clean and professional online presence, as employers may research candidates on social media.

Should I follow up after submitting an online job application, and if so, when?

Yes, following up can demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest in the position. Wait for about one to two weeks after submitting your application before sending a polite follow-up email to the hiring manager or recruiter. This email should reiterate your interest in the job and inquire about the status of your application or the hiring process.

Kayte Grady

Kayte, Senior Copywriter at Teal and Champion of ADHD professionals, is a seasoned writer passionate about storytelling and career growth. With a data-driven approach to content marketing and a word-nerd knack for resume builder analysis, Kayte’s on a mission to empower job seekers to land a job they love. Constantly pivoting and reinventing herself, this social-worker-turned-marketer found growth and camaraderie in tech—a genuine surprise given her never-ending devotion to the paper calendar.

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