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More Successful Job Applications

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How to get employers to pay attention to job applications

Alan Klein is Home Office Careers Chief Marketing Officer and he has been helping people fulfill their potential and achieve success throughout his own long career.

This blog provides actionable recommendations for work from home job seekers, plus some advice for employers on how to improve the application process for applicants – and for themselves.

 

“My job applications are not being responded to.”

 

You are not alone. As we see more and more people being able to work from home – an observation that was strongly supported by the recent “2016 Survey of HR Managers” (more about that survey in a moment), we are also seeing increasing concerns from work from home job seekers whose applications have not been responded to by employers.

It’s easy to understand the frustrations of the job seekers: They invest time, energy and even passion in completing each application with care, attaching a customized resume and then hitting that all-important “Submit” button. There may be an instant “Thank you” generated automatically when the application is submitted, but then, most of the time, nothing else happens. The application has disappeared into cyberspace, never to be heard from again.

It is important to understand why job applications are frequently not acknowledged and what you, as a work from home job seeker, can do about it by becoming proactive.

 

This is not the way things used to be.

 

First, let’s understand why employers are not getting back to you. In a pre-digital world, job applications were submitted by mail, and common courtesies dictated that a member of the employer’s staff would send a polite acknowledgement, and an assurance that the application would receive the employer’s full attention. Then typically in the next step, if the applicant was not accepted, a brief letter of notification would follow, expressing regret and saying that the candidate’s resume would be kept on file for further openings.

Of course, this is no longer how it works. Today’s employers are less responsive; maybe it’s the nature of the more impersonal side of the Internet, or because Human Resources departments are overworked with many other responsibilities, like health care benefits and pay rates. These activities can keep the HR team from paying sufficient attention to job applications when they arrive – so that even though the employer may have advertised for the position, they don’t get to review the responses on a timely basis.

Another strongly mitigating factor is the sheer volume of applications. As you can read in Isaac Klein’s recent blog “The Time It Takes To Get A Job,” the number of job applicants greatly exceeds the number of positions available. Sometimes a single recruitment offer may receive an overwhelming number of responses, with up to several hundred application submitted for a single position. At the least, you may assume you are one of 50 competitors for any job you apply for.

Importantly, this challenging ratio of applicants to offers affects all types of employment: On-site traditional jobs, and work from home telecommuting or off-site jobs.

So, in recognition of these realities, as a work from home job seeker you should not assume your application is the last step in the process – it’s actually the first step once you find a job offer that interests you.

 

Stay Confident: Work-from-home jobs are increasingly available!
If you want to become work from home employees, either part time or full time, you should be confident that you could succeed, regardless of the odds, if you follow these basic guidelines. So let’s look the realities of this growing employment opportunity.

The “2016 Survey of HR Managers” showed that more than half of their organizations already have at-home workers, and a full half of them work remotely 100% of the time. Employers recognize this trend and that’s why over one-quarter of their recruitment ads are now for at-home workers. Looking to the future, it only gets better, with two-thirds of HR managers forecasting that their workforce in 2020 will continue to include employees who work from home.

So instead of being discouraged, it is important to adapt to the ways employees are succeeding in landing good work from home jobs. We find the biggest challenge is in the application process. Here is how to get employers to take your application seriously – with more aggressive job search and application submissions, proactive follow-up to applications, and a good resume.

 

1.) Aggressive Offer Search & Application Submissions

 

The overriding fact is that more is better; our most successful Premium members have found that it takes quite a few – dozens – of applications before a positive response is received from the employer.

We like to say to our Premium members: The 3 most important words in searching for jobs are “apply, apply, apply.” That’s why we encourage our Premium members to check every job in the categories of greatest interest. For example, if you like working with people and have selected the Customer Support category on our site, you should look through the 160 jobs that are posted in this category. You can work quickly through the list of job offers since we provide short job descriptions so you can skip over the less interesting offers. But when a job description sounds promising, immediately select “Learn More” and a full job description with open.

Go ahead and apply immediately if the full description of the offer still appears interesting to you. Do not wait, and plan to come back later. Here’s why: If the offer seems exciting to you, then it may appear exciting to others and the job may be taken by the time you come back. So don’t hesitate – take the initiative and “strike while the iron is hot!”

Once you have seen all of the offers in a category, it’s time to move onto a second career category. Keep an open mind, because many jobs that might interest you may be “hidden” in another category. For example, there may be Data-Entry/Typing jobs in the Healthcare or Human Resources categories. So when time permits, look into related career categories.

Now, try to think “outside the box” and explore categories you may not have thought about because you may find work that interests you. Let’s imagine you are a professional writer. After exploring the 70 or so offers in the Writing category you may think you have covered everything – but you haven’t: Within the large Consultant category, with over 150 job offers typically, may be opportunities for people who can write articulate and persuasive business proposals, or reports. Similarly, the large Marketing & Media category may have jobs for copywriters that an experienced writer could qualify for.

Here’s another reason to consider a large category like Healthcare. It may also have work for people interested in Administration, Human Resources and even Computers & Technology. The only way to find out is to look at the offers.
But do not select multiple categories to search at the same time or you will become overwhelmed by hundreds of offers that appear. Search each category individually and complete the review of that category before moving on to the next one.

 

2.) Proactive Follow-Up

 

When you are filling out job applications (and are being careful with spelling and accuracy), be sure to capture the email address, telephone number and any other contact information that you can. Finding the Web site of the employer can usually help. Look for the Web address on the application form, or if necessary, do a search for the employer’s company name. Once you are on the site, see if there is an employment link – it might be called “Employment” or “Join Us.” If there is not, find the “Contact” link and save the Web address (it will look like http://www.companyname.com/contact or similar).

Then begin the follow-up process. About 5 to 10 days after submitting each application, send an email to the employer, or if you can, try calling. Ask for the HR department and say that you are requesting an update on your application.

This will have several positive effects: First, you should be able to verify that your application has been received by the employer, and if for any reason it can’t be found, you will be invited to re-submit. Second, you will make a good impression on the recruiter by showing your interest in the company, letting them know you are a serious candidate for the position applied for. Third, you will “own the situation” by making the employer take action. They won’t resent this; they understand that they can’t keep up with replies to applications and will appreciate your initiative. In other words, you have made yourself a priority job candidate!

 

3.) Improving Your Resume

 

Your resume is an advertisement for you, so be sure to have a good, clear, brief resume that immediately telegraphs your best qualities to the employer. Remember that you only have moments to capture their attention, so practice “Less is more” by keeping the resume to 2 pages, and focusing on your accomplishments. Your objective is to help the employer think, “This is the type of person I need.” Citing your accomplishments – the things you have achieved – allows the reader of your resume to see that you get things done, you own your work, and you are not someone just occupying a position.

We recommend that you take advantage of our free Resume Builder service, which provides 30 resume templates – one for each of the career categories, from Administration to Writing. It’s easy to download a resume template, customize it with your personal information, and upload it to your profile where it will be visible for employers conducting searches for work from home job candidates.

It’s a good idea to have a very short cover letter ready to include if an application asks for it. Make it a half-page of text, focusing on the job you want and why you are right for the job.

 

Employers: It’s In Your Interest To Follow-Up Too!

 

HR managers are overworked – we get that. But it important for employers to take the time to acknowledge applications for positions you have posted. This is beyond simple common courtesy: There is a self-serving rationale is for you to realize the possibility of negative impact on your organization’s reputation, and with social media, these negative thoughts can be disseminated broadly.

Moreover, job applicants may also be potential customers of your company’s products or services, and a negative experience can cost you a customer, and again, social media can magnify the negativity. Also, you may later decide to reconsider this same person for another position.

We recommend two actions for employers in response to applications for work from home employment offers:

First, send an immediate email acknowledge of your receipt of the application, with a word of thanks for the individual’s interest. This processed is easily automated and requires no personnel time once set up.

Second, if the applicant is not accepted (as is most often the case), send a brief note expressing regret and wishing the candidate well. It’s also good to say that the applicant’s resume is being kept for future consideration. This too may be largely automated and should not be time consuming.

What do you think? Prospective work from home employees and employers are invited to comment and make recommendations to further improve the recruitment process. I look forward to your contributions.

11 Responses to “More Successful Job Applications”

  1. charleyleatherwood@yahoo.com' charley leatherwood says:

    looking for work from home jobs due to having one car

    • Alan Klein says:

      Hi Charley – Home Office Careers is a service that connects people with job opportunities from employers hiring for full-time and part-time work that is done at home instead of at an office or business location. Every day we post hundreds of new job offers from employers.

      It looks like you have not yet signed up, so please return to our Web site at http://homeofficecareers.com/ and become a Basic member (it’s free!). Then you will be able to see many jobs that may be of interest to you and use Resume Assistant to create an impressive resume.

  2. andriene02@yahoo.com' Andriene Hayle says:

    Thank you. Very informative information.

  3. angelayoung1234@att.net' Angela says:

    Great Information
    Thank you.

  4. Lisa_conway2007@yahoo.com' Lisa Conway says:

    Excellent information!

    • Alan Klein says:

      Hi Lisa – I’m pleased that you appreciate the perspective on job applications. Too often job-seekers think that all that’s necessary is to land a great work from home job is to submit an application or two and then sit back and wait. The keyword here is “proactive” which means submitting many applications (“apply, apply, apply”) and also following up with the employers. You can do this by capturing the email “Contact Us” address and telephone number. After each application, email or call to let the HR department know that you are a serious candidate.

  5. japlonski@gmail.com' Joan Plonski says:

    Looking forward to working for Home Office Careers. Have worked from home for 20+ years.

    • Alan Klein says:

      Hi Joan – We are pleased to recognize you as a Premium member and hope we can be of help to you in succeeding in finding a great work from home job. We see you have already applied to a couple of job offers. As a Premium member you should schedule a call with your Career Assistance Team – use the “Appointment” link on the left side of the Dashboard page. Also contact your Dedicated Account Manager by clicking on the Career Assistance link and completing the short questionnaire. Wishing you success!

  6. ple My name is Ernest Berkoh i need job to do
    ple i know the can buy one Airticket for me
    while am work for the company at the end of month
    can make paid for the company
    ple Alan Klein to try help me
    i know you can help me
    this message from Ghana
    Thank you
    0544493365

    • Alan Klein says:

      Hi Ernest – We understand that you are not a U.S. resident and are living in Ghana. Home Office Careers is an American company and most of the job offers we post are for residents of the U.S. However, there are some offers posted every day that have no residency requirements and can be performed from anywhere! These offers can be found on the Search Jobs page by clicking on “Job Location” to open the option of “Allows Residency Outside U.S.” (It’s on the left side of the page, under “Advanced Search.”

      If you are not yet a member, we recommend that you join today as a Basic member by going to http://www.homeofficecareers.com and signing up for free. As a Basic member you may search for jobs and use Resume Assistant to create a professional quality resume.

      If you wish to apply to any of the jobs you find on our site or in our daily newsletter, then you will need to become a Premium member, with the ability to apply to as many jobs as you want, as often as you would like.

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