Applying for jobs online can often feel as if you’re sending your resume off into a black hole.
Was your resume received? Will you be called in for an interview? The waiting game can be frustrating.
But don’t lose hope. There are a few simple things you can do to optimize your applications and improve your odds of landing the right job.
Here are five key tips to apply for jobs effectively:
Do your research.
Before spending time applying to a job, it’s always a good idea to make sure that you actually want it.
So spend a few minutes researching the employer and the role. Check out their website, learn about the company culture, and pay close attention to the job description.
Are you still excited about the job? Could you picture yourself working there?
If so, apply. If not, your efforts might be better spent elsewhere.
Be mindful about the jobs you’re applying to.
Most employers don’t expect to find a candidate that meets 100% of the requirements listed in their posting. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you meet at least 75% of the requirements listed.
Pay special attention to the “must have” skills for the position as these are necessary to successfully perform the job duties.
The rest of the skills can be considered guidelines. It’s great if you have them, but it’s not a deal breaker if you don’t. After all, a lot of skills are trainable, especially if you bring valuable experience to the table.
That said, don’t spend time applying to jobs that you know you aren’t qualified for. Instead, set yourself up for success by focusing on those jobs that are attainable.
Follow “How to Apply” instructions.
Employers will usually tell you how to apply to their jobs.
Sometimes these instructions are simple, other times they’ll require you to put a little extra time and effort into your application.
It might feel a little like running a gauntlet, but always follow their instructions. You’ll be more likely to move on to the next level and land an interview.
If a job posting requires a cover letter, be sure to include one with your application. Similarly, if it requests that you contact a specific person or include any extra material, take the time to do it.
That will prove to a hiring manager that you are attentive, can follow directions, and care about getting the job.
Use relevant keywords.
Most companies use online portals to filter resumes based on keyword relevance to a particular job. Because of that, almost three out of four resumes submitted to a job are never seen by an actual recruiter.
If you want to make sure that a hiring manager actually looks at your resume, try to use industry specific terms and align your resume to the job description.
For example, if you are interested in Front Office jobs, use words and phrases like multi-line phone, transfer and direct calls, MS Office, and customer service.
Similarly, if you are looking for Warehouse jobs, you might use words such as shipping and receiving, loading and unloading, heavy lifting, picking and packing in your resume.
Using the right keywords will strengthen your application and help you get past automated filters, and in front of a hiring manager.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Maximize your chances of getting a job by using multiple platforms and resources to look for work.
Job aggregator sites are a great place to start your search as they list many of the opportunities available in one place. But don’t limit yourself to just one. While they advertise a lot of jobs, they don’t list all of them.
Instead, see if there are any local career fairs or hiring events coming up in your chosen industry.
Or make a list of target employers and look directly on their website career page. Lots of companies have jobs listed there that aren’t listed anywhere else.
They partner with many companies and can open doors to opportunities that might not be available to you otherwise.
Finding employment can be draining, especially when you’re responding to online job postings, but following these five tips should improve your chances for job search success.
And if you need more job search advice, take a look at our blog. We have lots of useful resources to help set you up for success:
- The New Rules of Job Searching — What You Need to Know Now
- Job Search Tips From Real Life Job Seekers
- The Ultimate Guide to Writing an Effective Cover Letter
- The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Stand-Out Resume
How TERRA Can Be a Resource
TERRA Staffing is a leading staffing agency with offices in the Seattle-Puget Sound, Portland, Phoenix, and Denver Metro areas. We partner with companies large and small, across a variety of industries and we can help open the door to new career opportunities.
Our recruiters can help you get out of the online application game and introduce you to opportunities that are the right fit for your skills, experience and career goals.
Getting started with us is simple. Just check out our current job openings.
Don’t see what you’re looking for? Contact us! Our expert recruiters are waiting to speak with you.
(Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.)