Applying for a job online can seem as simple as a few click of
your mouse. But when hundred of applicants are vying for the same
job online, your chances of getting a good look from the hiring
Is it even possible to find a job online from one of the many job
search engines out there? Yes, the experts say.
But you must be savvy in how you respond and craft your resume
and cover letter for the organization.
Use these eight tips for success in your online job search from
our panel of three career experts: Trudy Bourgeois, a career and
workplace coach and author of "Her Corner Office: A Guide to Help
Women Find a Place and a Voice in Corporate America"; Moritza E.
Day, president of Day West & Associates, Inc. and co-author of "1000
Best Job Hunting Secrets"; and Kevin Donlin, president of Guaranteed
Resumes and author of "51 Ways to Find a Job Fast -- Guaranteed!"
1. Boost your chances. Hundreds of job seekers are using
the big job boards, like CareerBuilder, to find and apply for jobs.
Those large job boards can be ideal for leads, but niche job postings
may suit your industry better. Check out the boards specific to
your industry because there are typically fewer applicants -- and
potentially less competition -- to those job postings.
2. Find the name beyond the ad. Don't just send your resume
into the abyss. Look for a name. Call the person on the ad and confirm
they've gotten your resume within three days. Make a personal connection
with that hiring manager and communicate what you can do for the
If the job posting does not list a name, do some research on the
company Web site and find out who handles the human resources or
the department that is hiring. Call that person and talk about the
opening. Use caution so that you don't become an unwanted job stalker.
3. Use keywords. Employers often use buzzwords to determine
whether an applicant matches what they are seeking. If your resume
or cover letter does not contain those key phrases, your chances
could land in the trash.
Read the ad and ascertain whether you have the skills the company
is seeking. Don't embellish your resume, but use industry terms
to define your skills. For example, a sales representative and account
executive may be the same. Try listing just those relevant keywords
in a section at the end of your resume.
4. Tailor your resume and cover letter. It may seem obvious,
but many candidates do not take the time to do so. If you properly
research the company, you will have a better idea of what kind of
candidate they value. In turn, you'll be able to explain why you
want to work for them and how you'll add to their team.
Read about the company online; read the CEO's letter and company
goals. Make your cover letter and resume reflect the skills you
have that would make you the ideal hire. Point out what makes you
special to stand out from the others, and present yourself as the
5. Always include your resume as a text file. If you are
responding to a job in an e-mail, include a text version of your
resume following your cover letter. You also may attach the formatted
version of your resume, but some attachments are automatically deleted.
By including a text version in the body of an e-mail, your resume
is sure to be seen. Send your resume to yourself in an e-mail before
you apply online for a job. That way you'll know just exactly what
it looks like in the human resources department inbox.
6. Make your resume readable. You won't win a prize for
the most words in a resume. Long paragraphs can be hard to read
and a company doesn't care necessarily care about your "personal
Cut out the superfluous distractions. Instead, use bullets starting
to highlight your professional accomplishments. Start each sentence
with action verbs. Use specifics that show your skills in quantitative
7. Spend your time wisely. The majority of jobs are found
through networking, not the job boards. You should use these job
boards in your search as a source, but not as your primary job search
means. But if you're spending all your time searching online - and
not using your network - reallocate your time appropriately. Get
back on the phone and start talking to contacts about your job search.
8. Use your network to research online postings.
It's not enough to just apply for the job online. Call your network
and try to find someone at the company you're applying for. A good
reference from an insider, or a phone call on your behalf, could
mean the difference between the trash and an interview.
Elizabeth McKinley is a freelance journalist who writes about
careers and workplace issues. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org