Applying for jobs online is the new normal, but it can also be super competitive. Being prepared and targeting your job search is one way you can set yourself apart from your fellow job seekers. This article covers what you need to know when applying for jobs online.
Applying for jobs online is the norm now. In the blink of an eye you can upload and fire off multiple applications from the comfort of your couch. But, it can also be very competitive. We’ve all seen that ideal job posting online, then quickly realized 250 other people saw it too.
Being well-prepared and targeting your online job search is a key way to being successful when applying for jobs online. This helps you stand out and get noticed by hiring managers as well as successfully navigate applicant tracking systems (ATS) that many companies now use.
In this article, we’ll cover:
How do you stand out when applying for a job online?
Completing online job applications
Tracking your applications
According to a recent research study by LinkedIn, the top channels that people use to look for new jobs are online job boards (60 percent), social professional networks (56 percent), and word of mouth (50 percent).
There are a few things you can employ to help you stand out. Here are four easy tips:
Polishing your resume so it’s on point for your online job search is vital. If you haven’t updated your resume in a while, you may need to add recent employment, new skill areas, certifications, and any new contact details. If you use MS Word or Google Docs, you can easily upload/export the file to a PDF document to apply for jobs online.
While updating your resume, target it as much as possible to the specific role you are applying for. You don’t need to rewrite the whole thing, but tweaking your resume for each job opportunity can increase your chance of success in online applications.
Most online jobs go through an applicant tracking system (ATS). If you want to avoid your resume getting booted into an online black hole, then make sure you’re using keywords. Incorporating keywords from the job description into your areas of expertise, resume branding statement, and professional summary is the best way to get through ATS.
These terms ensure your resume stands out when reviewed by the human eye. Hiring managers look for your skills, experience, and achievements to match the job opening as closely as possible. Note any terms in the job description that are repeated or emphasized as these will be the ones to prioritize.
Many blogs and sources argue that cover letters are outdated and that only a handful of HR professionals still care about them. If this is the case, then why bother? The answer is that hiring managers are not all the same. For every one that ignores cover letters, there’s another that reads every word, and this will influence who they invite to an interview.
In the same way you tweaked your resume for each job, target your cover letter toward each online job opportunity. One way to make your cover letter a warm introduction is to address it to the key decision maker. If you don’t know the hiring manager’s name, find out via online research.
Hiring managers often check out your profile on professional networking platforms such as LinkedIn, particularly if you apply for the online job via that platform. Making sure that your profile is up-to-date, professional, engaging, and showcases your skills will help you move forward in the hiring process.
Most job boards or company websites require you to register an account in order to process your online job application. When you submit your application online, you may be asked to upload your resume, enter sections of your resume into specific fields, or your resume may be parsed into the application form. If any information is entered automatically, double check everything as sometimes information can go in the wrong sections.
Keeping track of your applications is vital so you can follow-up when necessary and quickly respond when you move forward in the hiring process. One way to stay organized is to set up folders to store each job application. This can include the job description, job posting URL, customized resume/cover letter, and any notes so you can track your applications.
In terms of follow-up activity, you would normally wait at least a week following your online job submission. Or after the job closing date, you would make a polite call or send an email to inquire on the status of your application.
If you're looking for a job search strategy that can help you get results, check out Career.io’s Job Search Strategy service that can provide digital tools, coaching, and guidance to navigate the competitive job market.
Applying for jobs online is now the norm. In order to stand out from the competition, it’s important to be prepared and target each application to the specific job posting.
Updating your resume, creating targeted cover letters, incorporating keywords from the job description, and actively tracking applications will increase your chances of success.
Hiring managers will often check out your profile on professional networking sites, so update this information to make it consistent, engaging, and professional.
Don’t give up! Searching for a job online can take time, but it will be well worth the time and effort when you hit that dream job target.
Helen is an experienced freelance writer with a strong background in job search and career advice, in particular resume best practices, interviewing, and personal and professional development. Before Career.io, Helen worked for high-profile recruitment firms and in the field of HR management, so she has a strong sense of what recruiters are looking for in a potential employee as well as experience in supporting career growth and development.