It’s crazy to think that when I started working for Hyatt, back in 2000, candidates visited the hotel property’s HR office and completed paper applications. Wow how things have changed in such a relatively short amount of time! Now, almost all companies, including Hyatt, only accept applications online. To some, filling out online applications and sending them into cyberspace can feel hopeless.
I am here to tell you how to increase your chances of getting a phone call versus a generic “thanks but no thanks” letter or even worse, nothing at all. So read on and consider my advice before hitting the “submit” button because whether you like it or not, paper applications aren’t coming back.
Finding the right opportunity
Most companies have a career site linked from their company website that will allow you to view available positions by location and department. Once you have determined the company that is the right fit for you it’s time to find a position that is a match as well.
Applying to anything and everything is not the answer to finding a job. Most companies use an applicant tracking system that allows the HR representatives to view every position you have applied for within the company. If you are applying to multiple opportunities, in different departments, all over the country, or even the world, this can give a negative impression.
Start by viewing opportunities closest to you. Candidates looking for an entry level position, even an entry level management position, will most likely not be provided relocation. Even if you are willing to relocate on your own dime, applying for opportunities in your area first will better your chances of being considered. If you are planning to relocate (regardless if you get the job) to the location you are applying, make sure you indicate this on your application and follow up by contacting the HR department via phone after submitting your application.
Take a thorough look at the job descriptions for the opportunities you are interested in. Most likely the company will list the job duties and qualifications required for the position. If you do not meet these qualifications don’t waste your time. If you do, make sure it is a job you are truly interested in versus applying just to apply.
Completing the Application
Now you that you have determined the right position for you it’s time to complete the application. Although applying online can feel more informal than meeting with a company representative face to face it’s important to treat it the same and maintain professionalism.
For example, I have the bad habit of not capitalizing when emailing with friends–this is not ok on a job application. Punctuation, grammar, spelling, etc are all extremely important when applying online. The application is your foot in the door and if you are not putting your best foot forward then you are hurting your chances of getting that coveted face to face time.
Most application systems allow you to attach your cover letter, resume and references. Take advantage of this as the HR representative reviewing your application may use these attachments to forward to the Hiring Manager. Make sure the information you submit and attach is up to date and accurate as well as professional.
If the HR representative wants to reach out to you and your phone number is no longer in service or your email address ends in @bootylicious.com they will be on to the next candidate in no time. This also applies to your voicemail. Although you may love the song that your friends have to listen to while they wait for you to answer, your potential employer may not feel the same. Keep it simple and realize all of these little things add up to an overall impression.
My mom, and I’m sure yours, has always said “honesty is the best policy”. This is true when it comes to applications as well. Lying about your background, employment experience, qualifications, compensation, etc will only cause problems later. So be honest and the right opportunity will come your way.
Last but not least, make sure if you are contacted regarding your application that you respond whether you are still interested in the opportunity or not. A lack of response can only hurt your chances of other employment opportunities with the company that may come up in the future.
If you have applied to an opportunity and a week or more has passed, it is ok to call and follow-up. By following up you are confirming your interest in the position and the HR representative may even be able to provide you with an update on the position.
Now that you have the skinny it’s time to get online and start applying. Career opportunities are waiting for you in cyberspace.
Heidi is one of 3 College Recruiting Managers for Hyatt. She is responsible for recruiting top talent at hospitality universities across the country, primarily for Hyatt’s Corporate Management Training program and Corporate Internship program. Heidi visits up to 14 campuses twice a year to promote the Hyatt brand and college programs. Most recently Heidi has become involved with External Functional Recruitment for Culinary Management positions in North America. She earned her BS Degree in Interpersonal Communication with a minor in Business from Ohio University in 2001. Heidi has been with Hyatt for 9 years and started in the programs she now recruits for. To learn more about opportunities with Hyatt please visit explorehyatt.jobs, follow Hyatt on twitter @hyattcareers, become a Hyatt Facebook fan at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts Careers and follow the Campus blog at hyattrecruiting.blogspot.com.