How to Adapt Your CV For an Online Application

March 20 2020 , 0 Comments

Online Application

Chances are you probably spent hours, if not days, perfecting your CV. You proofread it a dozen times over, tailored your skills to the job you’ve been dreaming of and even applied a fancy design that is sure to catch the hiring manager’s eye. But then the worst happens. You go to upload your CV, only to realise the job you’re applying for has an online application.

Total bummer, right? But it’s not as big of a roadblock as you may think. The good news is you already have all the info you need in one place. The bad news is you have to adapt that info for a long-form application.

Not sure where to start? Let’s take a closer look at the best ways to adapt your CV for an online application.


But first, the benefits…

At first glance, you might think that an online application is a tad annoying. You’re just filling out the same details that are already on your CV, right? Wrong. The online application actually provides you with more space to sell your skills and your experience. Rather than cramming everything into a tidy 2-page document, you’re given the chance to answer long-form questions and go into more detail as to why your particular skills and experience make you the best person for the job.

That’s why so many employers prefer the online application to simply asking for a CV and cover letter—it gives them a unique insight into you as a candidate. Think of it has a high-definition preview of what you could offer before you even get to the interview stage.

And because you don’t have to worry about things like formatting and design, filling out an online application can take less time than building a CV.


So where do you start?

The good news is that you already have a stellar list of your work experience and skills—your CV. Now it’s just about tweaking and tailoring that experience in a way that answers the particular questions set out in the online application.

But first, it’s important to do the following:

  1. Read the instructions carefully. Can you scan ahead to ensure you have everything you need at hand?
  2. Make sure you have enough time. Does this application system allow you to save your work and come back to it later? Or do you need to complete it all in one go?
  3. Research the organisation. How do you align with their values and their mission? What do you like about the work they’re doing? Remember to give examples.
  4. Check if there are word or character limits for each question. If so, it might be useful to draft your answers on a separate document first then copy them into the form.
  5. Prepare any references ahead of time. No one want to get a surprise phone call asking them to provide a professional reference, so give your references a heads up if you’re going to include them on the application.


And remember, these things take time…

You can’t simply copy and paste things from your CV—recruiters will spot that from a mile away. You need to tailor all your answers that that particular job and organisation. And it varies depending on the industry. If you’re applying for a job in a charity, your answers will be drastically different than if you were applying for a job at a bank.

But just like in a CV, examples and hard evidence are key. Don’t just say you improved customer loyalty. Quantify it with the exact percentages and examples of how. You have more space in an online application to get granular with the details, so don’t be shy.

And of course, draw experience from all areas of your life. If you volunteered, mention it. If you ran a sporting event, bring it up. All of these activities speak volumes about your aptitude and initiative, even if they aren’t job-specific.


Ready to show them why you’re the right candidate?

This is the perfect opportunity to do so. Don’t let the long-winded process of filling out an online application deter you. Think of it as an opportunity to give recruiters a fully formed representation of you as a candidate.

And who knows, it may even be the thing that pushes you from the ‘maybe’ pile to the ‘let’s call them in for an interview’ list.

This content was provided by CharityJob, the largest and most specialised job board for the charity and not-for-profit sector in the UK.

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