Avoid these online job application mistakes.

There are six things you need to stop doing now if you actually want to get hired for an online job. 

With over 40 employees on four continents, our remote hiring team here at Support Adventure, a remote IT staffing company, has reviewed thousands of applicants, and they are pros at knowing what not to do to avoid ruining your chances of getting hired.

What are those mistakes?

Let’s jump in. 

#1 Don’t be too formal with your online job application

If you are starting your applications with “Dear sir” or “Dear madam”, STOP. 

You are applying for an online job in 2020, not writing a letter in the Victorian era.

Using formal jargon has the following negative effects:

  1. It makes you sound too subservient or timid. 
  2. You do not stand out as many other people are writing like this. 
  3. You instantly make a bad first impression. 

In Western cultures, the stage of being so formal and kneeling to superiors is a thing of the past, especially in digital economies. 

Remote companies often have a more creative culture and want exciting, self-directed people with strong social skills. Starting an application with “Dear sir” suggests that you possess none of those attributes.

That might sound harsh, but you have to understand that people judge you from the first sentence you write, so write a more unique sentence.

#2: Don’t write a long message

When you write about yourself for your online job application, keep it short. Hiring managers receive hundreds of applications. They do not have time to read through an entire dissertation describing your work history, life story, goals for growth, etc.  

Some rules you should try to stick to are:

  • Explain in two sentences why the company should hire you.
  • Read your description out loud to be more alert to when you repeat a sentiment. 
  • Do not over explain. It should not take you 4 sentences to convey that you are hardworking and a fast-learner.
  • Read your description a few more times to edit out what details are not necessary. 
  • Be unique. Explain something interesting about yourself to show some personality instead of writing another sentence rephrasing something you already explained.
  • Try to stick to no more than 2 paragraphs.

You will make a good first impression as long as you are quick and concise in explaining:

  1. Your work experience.
  2. Values of the company you relate to.
  3. Why you would be a good fit and the value you bring.

How you are unique and interesting. 

Remember, you’re not writing a 10-page research paper, so have fun with a shorter and more confident message. 

#3 Don’t submit a disinterested application

Are you guilty of sending the same job application to every single company you apply to? If so, that lack of personalized messaging will be heard loud and clear to hiring managers everywhere. 

Stop sending the same email when you apply for an online job.

You need to show more interest in the company you are applying to. Express how motivated you are to join them. State your objective for wanting to be a part of their team and how the position will help you grow beyond your existing experience.

Speaking of experience, companies often want to hire someone who has some. You’ll do better to apply for jobs where the skills you picked up from your past positions will be relevant. It is also hard to get an interview for a job where you have no experience, so avoid applying to those jobs as well.

Below is why companies do not want to hire someone with too much or too little experience.

Candidates with TOO MUCH experienceCandidates with TOO LITTLE experience
They might find the position too boring once they start. They might need too much direction and supervision. 
They might want higher pay than what is in the company’s budget.They might not have enough background in the field.
They might feel too entitled to follow directions.They can make too many mistakes.
They can cause higher rates of turnover.They can cause higher rates of turnover.
Companies don’t want to hire online job applicants with no experience

Companies want to hire someone who already possesses the building blocks to bring success to the position that needs filling. 

This is why finding a job that is actually a good fit for you is so important. When looking at job openings, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I understand this job description without having to Google explanations for terms used in it?
  2. Am I familiar with the softwares that the job description mentions?
  3. Do I enjoy the daily tasks of the role?
  4. Does the company seem like one where I would like working everyday?
  5. Am I overqualified for the role?
  6. Will the position pay me my desired monthly salary?

It is a big inconvenience when you join a company and you end up leaving weeks or months in because you are too qualified or not qualified enough. So avoid situations like these. 

Finally, companies want to hire people who are a good fit and share their same core values.

If you believe you are a good fit, it is important that you convey that in your application.

Before applying, try to get a gist of the company’s culture and identity. Get a feel for whether or not you can truly see yourself as part of the team. 

You can do this by: 

  • Reading the “About” page on the company’s website. 
  • Checking out articles they have on their site.
  • Looking at their Linkedin page.
  • Reading testimonials from clients and staff members.
  • Looking at their social media, like Instagram and Youtube. While you’re at it, feel free to check out our Youtube channel

At Support Adventure, we often hire people who like remote working and can manage their responsibilities while traveling around Asia, Europe, South America or wherever they wish to go next. 

If you learn about the company’s core values and identity in advance, you can better explain on your application how those resonate with you, which in effect will make a better first impression.

#4 Don’t play it safe

Thinking outside the box to get a job will help you stand out from other applicants. What exactly do we mean by that?

Applying for a job typically consists of submitting an application and then waiting to be contacted for an interview. This creates a power dynamic where the applicant is completely dependent on the hiring managers to move things along. 

In reality, the applicant has more agency than they assume. There are numerous actions they can take to move things along, which can be:

  1. Offer the company a free trial of your services for a day or two.
  2. Ask to be sent tasks as a test to prove you are skilled in performing those tasks.
  3. Offer to work for free for a week.
  4. Take the initiative to tell them to schedule a call with you and link to your calendar. You can do this with Calendly which syncs with Zoom conferencing
  5. Offer to stay overtime your first week if hired to get the hang of new softwares or procedures you have no prior experience in.
  6. Offer to work on the weekend if hired to get the hang of new softwares or procedures you have no prior experience in.

If you are dying to get your foot in the door, do not be afraid to offer a company a deal that will make them take notice that you are different from the other applicants. 

#5 Stop thinking of what you can get. Think of what you can give.

Explain how you can deliver value when you apply for jobs online.

Many people apply for a job and only think of what they can get from it–money, benefits, a title, etc. They don’t understand that a company really needs someone who has a lot to give in terms of the value they would bring to the company.

When you approach job seeking from a mindset of “What can I get out of this,” you will make the mistake of not communicating your value. When applicants make this mistake, they use language like:

  • “I want to work for you because there is so much I want to learn from you.”
  • “I want this job because it would be an honor to work for you.”
  • “I have loved your brand for so long and it is my dream to work for you.”

The problem with this language is that it’s all about how great the job is, not how great you are. The reason there is a job opportunity in the first place is because a company needs help. If you do not describe how you can help them, then why should they hire you?

Instead of using “What can I get” language, use “What I can give” language. You can do this by:

  1. Describing how you will solve problems for the company.
  2. Making suggestions for what the company can do to produce better results.
  3. Spotlighting extra skills you have that will bring more to the role than what was written on the job description.
  4. Describing how you will take initiative to improve upon the role.
  5. Explaining how the role is personally right for you.

When hiring managers see that your priority is delivering value, you immediately distinguish yourself from the other 80-85% of applicants. So focus on what you have to offer and opportunities will come to you. 

#6 Stop hiding behind your text resume

Applying for jobs is very competitive. You need every advantage you can get, which is why you MUST create a video resume or video introduction to yourself. 

So few people do this, which is why you will be extra unforgettable if you do. These are so powerful because they:

  • Put a face to a name.
  • Allow hiring managers to get a feel for your personality before an interview.
  • Act as a warm up to an interview to help managers understand your qualifications and skills. 
  • Are professional. Managers will appreciate the effort. 
  • Entice hiring managers to schedule an interview with you. 

Video intros or resumes do not have to be so long. You can send a video introducing yourself and explaining your skills in one to one and a half minutes or so. 

So don’t be shy. Break out your camera or phone and make a powerful first impression. 

Now that you know the 6 mistakes to avoid when applying for online jobs, we are sure your job hunt will be more successful. Let us know in the comments how your job search goes and which one of these tips helped you the most.


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