An Online Application Checklist

Online applications are time consuming and tedious. Here are three steps and a checklist to help you find efficiency in the process. 

  1. Select search sites that fit your target market. There are so many job search websites out there! To help you choose the sites that will work for your search here is a list of valuable search sites compiled from students in Engineering Master’s Programs. Unsure which to select, this is a great question for second year students.
  2. Create a profile for the search sites you choose. For each site, this process will look slightly different, but spending time at the start will save you time further in the process. Consider using the same email and login (if possible) for all search sites to keep it simple.
  3. Set up alerts to receive email updates when roles aligned with your target market are posted. Use these tips on setting up alerts from The Balance Careers blog. 

Checklist for Submitting an Online Application:

🔲 Read through the online application. What questions are asked? What information do you need to prepare? Review the application and create a game plan towards completion. If there are open text answers write them in a Word document so you won’t lose your work with a session timeout. Save this as a working document so you refer to it later for applications or interview prep.

🔲 Evaluate the internship/job description. What keywords do you notice? What skills is the employer looking for? Highlight keywords in the description to help you focus on skills you want to mention to show your alignment for a role. You could also add the description to a word cloud generator to see the words that repeat. 

🔲 Customize your resume and cover letter. After evaluating the description, use your insights to customize your documents. 

🔲 Enter your personal, education, experience, and answers. This part can be tedious. Save your answers as you go and think about cutting and pasting answers to ensure accuracy. It might feel repetitive (and it is!) but it is important to fill out every field so you are not filtered out by Applicant Tracking Systems. 

🔲 Proofread your documents and answers for accurate spelling and grammar. Ensure your documents are error free and accurate. Engineering Master’s Students: The GCC is an amazing resource for a grammar check! If you do plan to take your resume to a GCC appointment, make sure you meet with a career coach first to review your resume content. Interested to see how your resume would be “read” by an Applicant Tracking System? Try out Quinncia, an AI resume feedback tool (only for Engineering Master’s).

🔲 Review your documents for the correct hiring manager and organization name. We all edit our documents for different roles, just make sure you update information specific to the employer for each application.

🔲 Save your documents with consistent, clear names. When finished, save your documents with your name and the document name, such as FirstnameLastname_Resume.pdf. Be consistent in the naming of your documents for an application. Here are some naming tips from

🔲 Check to ensure you followed the instructions and uploaded documents. Read through the instructions one last time to ensure you completed the application accurately. 

🔲 Take a breath, submit, and celebrate finishing an application. Celebration Moment! 

🔲 Track your applications using a system that works for you. This could be through Excel, a project management board, or something else. Here are some tips from the Engineering Master’s Steps for Search Success. If you highlighted the description save this in a folder, often descriptions are removed from websites after the deadline and saving it will allow you to reference the description during interview preparation.

🔲 Create an outreach plan for that organization. Have you spoken to someone in the organization you applied to? If not, using LinkedIn to find a individual working at that organization. Send a connection request and ask for an informational interview to learn more. 

While applying online is a part of your search, don’t let it be your only approach: 

By Erin Carlini (she/her)
Erin Carlini (she/her) Assistant Director, Engineering Master's Career Services & Professional Development Erin Carlini (she/her)