How to Apply for Jobs Online

Applying for jobs online sounds very easy compared to going to stores, inquiring if they are hiring, completing the application and then waiting for an interview call. And while the internet can be helpful, it’s still important to know the best way to use online job search tools. With the millions of websites on the Internet representing companies all over the world, you need to know how to find potential job opportunities that fit your qualifications and your location. Here are a few tips to help you on your way.

Getting Started

Most people already have e-mail addresses, but one should be created for job searches alone. The e-mail address should be professional looking. You may love your pet, but jsmith@website.com looks more professional than doglover123@website.com.

This is also the time to review your resume to make sure you have all your qualifications and skills listed. Most people do not update their resumes until they are looking for a new job, so they forget what job duties their last position required. Make a list of everything you did on a daily, weekly and monthly basis in your last position. Use this to build out the skills portion on your resume. Proofread your resume for typos, especially in the contact information section.

Finding the Jobs

If you don’t have Internet access at home, make time to visit the public library or unemployment office regularly to apply for jobs and retrieve your e-mail. Buy a USB drive to store your resume and other job search documents so they can travel with you.

Job boards and professional networking websites should be your first Internet stop. Create accounts and post your resume and profile. This puts your information out there for prospective employers to review and contact you. You may know some people who are members of professional networking sites who are in a position to send your resume to the hiring manager at their company.

Keywords are king in the World Wide Web, and job search sites are no different. Use keywords that identify the kind of work you do or the skills necessary for the job and enter those into the search. By doing keyword searches on job forums, you can narrow the results to exactly the job you want. Likewise, if your resume includes specific keywords, employers can find you quicker.

Go directly to company websites. If you are interested in working for a specific company, go to their website and see if they are hiring. If you see a company listed in a job forum, go directly to their website to apply instead of applying through the job forum. Not only does this show that you were interested in the company enough to visit their website, it also goes straight to the company’s hiring department.

Completing the Job Application

With most large employers requiring online application submission, it is important to have all your information at your fingertips. This goes beyond a simple resume. Items that should be ready when you sit down at your computer should include:

  • Dates of prior employment going back 10-15 years (including salary information)

  • Addresses and telephone numbers of prior employers

  • Educational institution information (high school, college, trade school)

  • Prior residences for past 5-10 years

  • Updated resume

  • Cover letter language for different types of positions

  • References (3-5 are recommended)

It is extremely important to follow the application instructions completely. Some companies require you to attach your resume to the application when submitting, while others may request the resume to be put in the body of the application. Proofread the application before submitting it, and make sure all attachments are included.

Pre-employment Testing

Most employers who require pre-employment testing include it in the application process. Their goal is to find candidates who will fit with the company’s environment, rather than interviewing everyone who qualifies. It is a good tool for narrowing down the candidate pool from the thousands of applicants who apply.

Keep a Journal

It’s important to keep a journal of your job search so you can keep track of the applications and responses received. Included in the journal should be:

  • Professional profile website memberships

  • Job boards that list your resume and profile

  • Company websites where you have applied

  • All log-in names and passwords for job search accounts

  • Inquiries you received and where they found your information

  • Dates you applied and dates you followed up on the applications

Applying for jobs online can be just as time consuming as the old “pavement and paper” method. However, if you follow the above tips, you will find that it takes you less time to apply for jobs and less time to get hired.


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