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Read This Before Applying for a Job Online

Read This Before Applying for a Job Online

Employers tend to receive more applications than they can handle.

Fortune 500 companies have been using specialized software to conduct initial screenings for the past several years. Now, smaller companies are following suit.

If you want to get noticed, it’s important to know how to operate in this new environment. Study these tips and revise your approach.

The Importance of Keywords

  1. Understand applicant tracking software. These software packages go through resumes to select candidates who use desired words, such as new media or 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 cultures, such as environmentally friendly or quality-driven.
  3. Know your industry. Stay up to date in your field. Attend association events. Read the leading publications.
  4. Consult a recruiter. Ask a head hunter for advice. Recruiters will have useful insights into the latest human resources practices and priorities.
  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 each document, so your resume stands out from the rest.
  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.
  7. Stick to a simple format. Reduce the risk of having your resume mangled by an automatic program. 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. Your odds are much better if you can find someone who already works at the company to recommend you or give you inside information. Connect with others through social media or call others in your network.
  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 your best chances.
  2. Use a variety of techniques. The most successful job hunters tend to use multiple tactics. Experiment with everything from posting your resume online, to answering job ads, to 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.

Mauricio Ruiz
Mauricio Ruiz

Digital Recruitment Analyst


View all posts by JoseJRuiz

Jose Ruiz serves as Alder Koten’s Chief Executive Officer providing vision, strategic direction and the roadmap for the firm’s future.

He is also involved in executive search work focused on board members, CEOs and senior-level executives; and consulting engagements related to leadership and organizational effectiveness helping clients create thriving cultures.

An important part of his time is spent on research work focused on organizational effectiveness centered on leadership and culture. Prior to joining Alder Koten, Jose was a Principal with Heidrick & Struggles’ Global Industrial Practice based in Houston, TX and Monterrey, Mexico.

His professional experience also includes leadership positions in engineering and operations management for manufacturing organizations in the US and Mexico. This experience includes serving as vice president and general manager at Holley Performance Products. Jose is a bi-weekly contributor at writing about executive leadership and career development.

Jose holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical and electrical engineering from the Instituto Technologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. He is fluent in English and Spanish.

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