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5 tips on how to make a great online job application.

You may not know this, but increasingly, many Kenyan companies use application forms as an initial screening device for applicants. This saves the HR recruiters’ time, as they can sue software to scan the application form and CV for specific keywords. Studies show that employers use the information you fill out in the online application form to eliminate as much as 90 percent of the applicants.

The general nature of many questions on applications and the lack of space for responses make it difficult for an applicant to show his or her relevant skills and knowledge.
The following tips offer ways of providing more complete information about your skills and knowledge given the limited space and words that many online forms will allow.

1. Learn about the actual job and tailor your responses. First, learn as much as you can about the actual tasks of the job for which you are applying. Examine the specific job task information carefully and list
your work experience, training or education that relates to specific tasks.

2. Write a brief cover letter. A cover letter provides an opportunity for you to present the job-related skills that go beyond those mentioned on an application form. This letter should be short (a few paragraphs) and clearly indicate the knowledge and skills related to job tasks, e.g., "I am proficient in building websites because I have had three college courses on web design and have worked for two startups for which I was in charge of this activity." Do not be afraid to be specific, especially if listing those skills gets you an interview. Also, in one short sentence indicate why you are interested—answer the questions "why this role?" and "why this organization?"

3. Add information to the application form response. Add some additional details on the application when feasible. As an example, if an application requests a job title, you may use a task-related description such as, "Media Manager in charge of website design and implementation." When using this option, you should be selective and add information only to activities or experiences clearly related to an important job task.

4. Be complete and accurate in your responses on the application form. Even if the information is redundant with your résumé, complete all aspects of the application form. Additionally, double-check grammar and spelling. People will use small reasons to eliminate your application from the pile. Don't give them errors or an incomplete effort on the application as reasons for elimination.

5. Attach a brief CV to the application form. The CV should also be short and only include information directly related to job tasks.

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