One of the most frustrating undertakings for a job seeker in a world preoccupied with the uncharted re=helms of cyberspace is the online application. From the initial sign on and login to deciphering the operations you need to go through to upload all or part of your resume, the processes are all different.  Worse, there are a number of pitfalls that will leave you stranded  facing an expired page with nothing to do bust start at the beginning – if you can remember your password.

The only recourse almost guaranteeing  a successful application is preparation.

As a job developer who has likely made thousands of such applications – some of which were successful, I offer a few tips on how to make the application work for you

  1. 1.         Get phone numbers.

I know this seems counterproductive t the spirit of the online application, but try to keep some contact information before beginning. If you use this information judiciously, you may find someone in the HR department rescue you. I did this the other day for a multinational building maintenance corporation, and the rescue included an offer from the head of recruiting to do a speaking engagement with my co-workers.

  1. 2.         Write a profile.

I’m a firm believer in introducing your resume with a strong and well worded  profile instead of an objective. Sometimes an online application requires a description of your experience in a small space. This would be a good place to cut and paste the profile. If they ask you to upload the resume, leave the profile on it.

  1. 3.         Have your cover letter and resume ready for an upload.  

Sometimes the application program  will time out if too much time is wasted looking for and retrieving  the right documents. Have them ready before you begin the application. Be sure to date and address the application. If you don’t know the address, it is acceptable to cut and past the URL instead.

4.      Be ready for the worst.

Yesterday, I helped a client apply for a position at Home Depot online. We made it through most of their obstacle course, then, all of a sudden, we were confronted with a math test. It seems that they wanted to insure that whoever they hired would know how to calculate areas and perimeters. If you feel you might need to brush up on your arithmetic procedures, have a calculator handy.

5.      To thine own self be true.

The home depot also had an honesty test associated with it. The want to know if you’re going to rob them blind once you’re hired. I would suggest not overthinking the questions. Don’t go for a wishy-washy “strongly agree” to a statement that it is wrong to have your hand in the cookie jar. Go for the extreme that you “Definitely and definitively strongly disagree.” Do,  however, overthink it if you catch them switching ends of the answers, and watch out for double negatives.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .
He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there “aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look like.
He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”
He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.




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