Read This Before You Apply for Another Job Online

By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC

Read This Before You Apply for Another Job Online.png


Applying for a job online can be frustrating. Millions of job seekers send in their resumes without ever getting a response. So, how can you get noticed? You need strategies to make your resume stand out from the others.


As a job seeker, it is relatively easy to apply online. Tedious? Yes! Easy? Definitely easier than it’s ever been. We are no longer tied to the classified ads in our city. The whole nation, actually the whole world, has opened up and sites such as make it easy to sort through your job criteria including location, salary, job title, and company name. As a result, employers receive more applications than they can handle. To respond to this influx of applicants, many whom are not qualified for the jobs they apply for, Fortune 500 companies have implemented specialized software to conduct initial screenings. Smaller companies are being to follow suit.


If you want to get noticed, it’s important to know how to operate in this environment. I hope these tips will help you to revise your approach.


The Importance of Keywords


1.      Understand applicant tracking software. These software packages go through resumes to select candidates who use key words, found in the job description itself, such as social media, engineering, customer relations and MBA. In addition to your skills, they may consider what colleges you attended and how long you held your last position.

2.      Research each company. Look at corporate websites, press releases, and job descriptions, and use some of their exact language in your application and resume. Consider including references to corporate culture, such as environmentally friendly or quality driven. You may want to follow them on social media. Many companies do post their positions via their social media accounts.

3.      Know your industry. Stay up to date in your field. Attend association events including monthly events and conferences. Read the leading publications.


You may find these networking resources and articles helpful:

Professional Networking Resources for Houston

Networking When You Hate Networking

3 Fun and Effective Ways to Get Noticed in a Pool of Job Hunters


4.      Consult a recruiter. Ask a head hunter for advice. Recruiters will have useful insights into the latest human resources practices and priorities. There are 2 things to remember when you work with a recruiter 1. Don’t pay a recruiter upfront for a potential job. Legitimate recruiters are paid by their clients, the companies. This brings us to point #2: Remember: Recruiters are not looking for jobs for you. I hope that doesn’t sound harsh. The reality is that they are looking for a particular applicant with certain skills requested by their client for a particular role. If you fit the bill, they will send your resume. If not, well... unfortunately, the job search is your responsibility. Don’t discount the importance of a great network which may include recruiters, just don’t sit back and hope they are searching for jobs for you. That is not the case. “Boo!!!”, you say.  I couldn’t agree with you more. It is a bummer!

5.      Edit your materials. Add essential keywords related to your field to your resume and cover letter. Try to use them in the first sentence of your cover letter and for the top bullet points in your resume so that you stand apart from the competition.

6.      Avoid excessive repetition. To avoid overstuffing, use a keyword once for every hundred words. Remember to vary the way you state them. Use popular acronyms, if appropriate, and strong verbs.

7.      Stick to a simple format. There are close to 300 different software systems for employers to use in their hiring process. Reduce the risk of having your resume mangled by an automatic program by keeping it plain and easy to read. Put information on separate lines when giving your employer’s name, your job title, and the number of years you worked at your previous company.

8.      Keep humans in mind. Remember that a real person will probably review your materials if you make the first cut. Read your application out loud to ensure it makes sense. Check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation because if your resume is full of errors, it’s unlikely that you’ll be considered.

The Value of Personal Referrals

1.      Ask around. If you can find someone who already works at the company to recommend you or give you inside information about the company, this may give you a competitive advantage. Connect with others through social media or call others in your network and ask for advice.

2.      Join a job club. Job clubs are a great source for gathering personal referrals as well as moral support. Your local library may offer a program. Otherwise, consider starting your own.

3.      Help others. Nurture and expand your network by doing favors for others.

Additional Suggestions

1.      Be selective. Applying for a job can be as easy as clicking a single button. Be candid with yourself about whether you have the special qualities and experience to distinguish yourself from the rest of a crowded field. Focus your efforts on the jobs that are most closely related to your ideal job.

2.      Use a variety of techniques. The most successful job hunters tend to use multiple tactics. Experiment with everything from networking, attending professional organizations/ conferences, posting your resume online, applying for jobs and doing volunteer work.

3.      Develop patience. Your career plays a big role in your life. Finding meaningful work that’s fitting for you may take a while. Focus on your long-term goals and congratulate yourself for every step you take. Positive thoughts will make you happier and more attractive to your future employer.

It’s easy for your resume to fall into a black hole when you’re dealing with online job listings. Mastering keywords and deploying personal referrals will help you get more interviews and job offers. By applying these strategies, you’re more likely to get noticed and secure your dream job.