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Applying for a Job Online

Posted on 24 August 2008

The problem with job search engines is similar to the advantage they present: ease. Such engines make it easier for you (and all other job-seekers) to submit applications at will, which is certainly a good thing — one of the better advances the human quest for work has seen in some time. However, with the increased ease of applying comes the increased number of applicants to each and every job posted online.

Now a hiring manager faced with twenty resumes will pore over each carefully. A hiring manager with four hundred will look for anything, anything that will disqualify as many applicants as possible in the shortest period of time. In other words, with the skyrocketing amount of responses, a significant part of the hiring manager’s job shifts from finding who is qualified, to finding who is not qualified.

Among the better sites…

New sites (Thanks to James Carnes)

And you’d be amazed to know how seemingly petty hiring managers can be while sorting through resumes. But who can blame them? They post an ad seeking an editor in advertising and they get responses from everyone looking for any position in advertising, most of whom are blatantly unqualified for the slot.

But that’s another problem with online job searches. They are so easy to use that they inevitably invite more “Hail Mary” responses, which flood inboxes and test the patience of hiring managers.

The point is, while sending a resume is easier, getting the attention of hiring managers is exceedingly difficult. Here are a few pointers:

  • First impression is key to not getting your application summarily deleted. Don’t necessarily assume that a strong resume is good enough. It has to stand out visually first — to catch the eye of the hiring manager. Once interest is piqued, back up the good layout with your solid credentials.
  • Don’t apply for a job you’re not qualified for. While throwing up the Hail Mary is enticing, it is the equivalent of a long and hopeful pass thrown to absolutely no one. Simply put, due to the number of qualified applicants, you won’t get any job you’re unqualified for. Stick to the jobs you would apply for without the convenience of the Net. If it’s not worth a stamp, and envelope and a resume printed on nice paper, it’s not worth hitting “Apply Online.”
  • Put as much into your online resume as you would your hard copy resume, if not more. Just because it’s easier to respond doesn’t mean recruiters/hiring managers have become more lax in their standards. If anything, they’re standards have become more stringent, for the flood of applicants. Use the job description as a blueprint for your resume, emphasizing the skills you posess that will be of greatest value to the company you’re applying for. Also, avoid excessive capitalization for the purposes of conveying your excitement about said position. It makes you look like a teenage girl writing in her diary. Spell and grammar check every piece of correspondence.
  • If you do apply online, you must make every effort to set yourself apart from the hundreds of others likely vying for the position. If possible, instead of sending your information directly through the job search engine, get the email address of the manager and send a personalized email complete with a formal cover letter and a resume. Personalize it. If it looks generic, as though you’re sending out fifty of the same letters to fifty different companies, your chances will plummet.
  • Follow-up as you would had you sent a hard copy resume. It looks good, and shows that you are serious about the position and not just blindly angling for a bite. Remember, the old rules of the job search still apply.
  • Remember that there may be hundreds of people applying for every position, and don’t get disheartened if you don’t get a personal response to your application or follow-up. Be patient and professional and you’ll be working soon enough.

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5 Comments For This Post

  1. James Carnes says:

    About.com just added three new sites to their top 10 employment site list –

    http://www.linkedin.com (a networking site)
    http://www.indeed.com (aggregated job listings)
    http://www.realmatch.com (a new job matching technology – free)

    Thought those would be helpful for those looking.

  2. Resume Tips says:

    Other job sites and professional networking sites worth mentioning include:

    Career Journal from the Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/public/page/news-career-jobs.html

    hotjobs.yahoo.com

    Spoke.com (Networking Site)

    Xing Global Networking for Professionals – http://www.xing.com

    Resume to Referral
    Resume and Career Services
    http://www.resumetoreferral.com

  3. Oliver says:

    I’ve tried looking for a job online before, but I just get spammed with so much rubbish on all the websites! Do you have any tips/tricks to get exactly what you’re looking for?

    Thanks!

  4. emily says:

    Careerjet.com is a job search engine for United States. In one simple search, Careerjet gives job seekers access to a huge selection of jobs that are sourced from various internet sites, saving the trouble of having to visit each site individually.

  5. lesley porter says:

    well uh no i have been working at the ware house for tommy hilfiguarue in when i have searched online there were like so many spams…..who should i got to,where should i go,how should i het it

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