Your Recurring Nightmare… Online Applications

Leveraging Company Culture to Build a Strong Brand

Your Recurring Nightmare, Online Applications


If you’re like the vast majority of job seekers you’re spending all your time chasing posted jobs on company websites and Internet job boards. You’re diligently filling out numerous online applications, which can take an hour or more, and hoping against hope that someone will somehow review your impressive resume. In other words, you’re following the traditional system of finding employment which is C*R*A*P (Clicking, Reviewing, Applying and Praying). Even worse, IF your resume gets through the automated screening software, you’re now relying on some personnel jockey in Human Resources to determine your value to the organization based on nothing more than keywords.

Online applications are a major source of frustration (as I’m sure you’ve discovered). Human Resources will defend the use of such applications as part of the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) they may be using. While such tracking systems make it easier for HR to collect, organize and store information on qualified candidates in their “black hole”, they are a nightmare for you the job seeker.

When it comes to recruiting talent Human Resources wants to control the process. The use of online applications makes it easier to screen you OUT, not in. There could be at least a dozen reasons why you could be knocked out of the running instantly: your name, where you live, your present employer, your previous employer, your title, your industry, your education, your lack of education, your affiliations, gaps in employment, your previous salary, your desired salary, etc., etc., etc.

Today’s job market is extremely competitive and companies receive an overwhelming number of resumes every time they post a job opening. A Director of Human Resources recently acknowledged that with their online application system receiving so many resumes on a daily basis, many of the most qualified candidates slip through the cracks unnoticed.

Again, when filling out the online application remember that it is designed to weed out those who are “not qualified” for the position. When asked for “previous or current salary” and “desired salary” don’t divulge either. Your previous salary is confidential information between you and your previous employer. Disclosing either could get you screened out right away. If you can’t get to the next field on the form leaving those fields blank, then enter $1,000 for previous, and $1,000 for desired.

Remember this: your previous or current salary has absolutely no relevance to the position you are now applying for. Moving forward, your salary should be determined by the value you bring to the organization as discussed during the interview process with your potential employer; specifically the hiring manager.

One of my pet peeves concerns the majority of companies that refuse to list the salary range for their posted positions. Human Resources will argue that not supplying the salary range gives them more flexibility and more candidates to consider. However, I believe potential employees have a right to know what the salary range is before wasting their time wading through an online application. A recent poll indicated 82% of respondents agreed.

If you want to wake up from your online application nightmare conduct a strategic job search by educating the business community about who you are and what you bring to the table. Avoid HR like the plague! Spend maybe 25% of your time applying online if you must. Spend the remaining 75% of your time focused on broadcasting your VALUE directly to hiring managers in companies of interest where you know your skills, experience and expertise would help increase profitability.


Are you ready to awake up?

Greg Wood

Certified Career Management Professional

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Greg Wood

Greg Wood is a Certified Career Management Professional, author of TheHireChallenge™ and TheHireTactics™ book series, and creator of TheHireRoad™ job search tutorial. Having experienced firsthand the challenges and anxiety of being unemployed several times during his 30 years of business experience, Greg brings a wealth of expertise to the field of career counseling. Greg is a frequent guest speaker at a variety of professional and career transition support groups throughout the Southwest, and has presented his unique perspective on job search on radio and television. For more information on strategic job search visit or email Greg at


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