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Job Search Handbook

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Student Employement Services

"...equipping students with job search tools for a lifetime."

7 Tips for "Applying Online"

Kenetta Pierce

    These days it seems to finish every sentence of a job posting—“apply online.”  How can you make your application stand out?  Do they really receive it?  What exactly are they looking for?  The following tips will help you outshine the online competition.

     According to MSNBC.com, an estimated 90% of Fortune 500 companies accept applications online.  Consider these tips to ensure success:

            1) Fill out the application completely, and follow directions.

Spell check/grammar checkóremember the old adage, you don't get a second chance to make a first impression.

2) Strategically use key words/buzzwords throughout your resume and in the “comment” sections.

Employers search on these key words, especially to fill certain positions. Revise your resume to include words that are listed in the job posting. Key words should be nouns and not verbs.

3) Any opportunity you have to expound—use it. 

Many online forms are structured and offer limited space.  “Comment” sections give you an opportunity to include pertinent information that may not ‘fit’ somewhere else.

4) Quantifiers and Qualifiers.

If you’ve spent any time with Student Employment Services, you’ve heard these words. Include numbers/statistics and how you did it (successfully, quickly) whenever possible to strengthen your application.

5) If there are any optional assessment tests, surveys, etc., take them.

One employer recently admitted that students who don’t take the optional assessment tests are automatically screened out.

6) When uploading/attaching your resume, be cautious.

Make sure your resume is in a plain text format. Always preview your document when given the option. Save the fancy fonts and bullets for your paper version. According to CNN.com, hiring managers seek tailored resumes that directly tie a job seeker's unique skills and abilities to the requirements of the position. Take extra time and effort to tweak and customize your resume to each specific opportunity.

7) Follow up!

Following up is critical, because resumes have been known to get lost in cyberspace.  Research from Robert Half International concluded that 82% of hiring managers say it is appropriate for job seekers to make contact within two weeks of submitting application materials. Of course, make sure this is an acceptable method—if the posting says ‘no phone calls’, do not call!

     Applying online can be a daunting task.  However, with proper preparation and time devoted to your goals, you’ll reap the benefits of a successful job search.  Be sure to check with Student Employment Services to see how we can help.

      Information compiled by sources from:  Jobweb.com, “How to Apply Online and Get an Employer’s Attention”; Careerwriter.com, “Keyword Resumes:  Key to Technology-Driven Job Search”; CNN.com, “Nine tips for better online job hunting”; MSNBC.com, “Hip e-mail addresses bad for resumes”.