You’re on the hunt for a job. And like everything else, job postings are almost completely online. This means you could respond to a job posting while eating ice cream in bed (yay!). But so can anyone else. Here are some sure-fire — and easy — ways to make your application stand out when you respond to a job posting.
Hone your résumé to the job
Online job postings, which have more space to describe the position and the company, have made this step super-simple.
It may seem lazy to copy and paste words from the job qualifications portion of an online listing onto your resume, but this could actually help. Most large companies use automated systems that scan résumés for keywords, according to Forbes. Including these keywords will give you a leg up. For example, if you’re applying for a human resources position, include phrases like "conflict resolution," "talent development" and other words from the job listing in the skills section and in descriptions of past jobs.
Don’t forget the cover letter
Online applications might seem more casual than dealing with a hiring manager directly, but that doesn’t mean you should skip the cover letter. Also, don’t use the same cover letter into every online application.
Research the company and the position to make sure that your cover letter is a perfect fit. Reference the title of the job you’re applying for, along with the name of the company, Monster’s Vicki Salemi says. Hiring managers will notice. Bonus tip: scatter some of those keywords in there so the computers notice too.
Always spell check
No one will see how perfect you are for a job if your application has spelling or grammatical errors. Make the spell check feature your best friend. Additionally, have a friend (or a friend of a friend -- basically anyone who isn’t Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother) review your application for errors and readability. Don’t be afraid to take extra time to re-read your application before you hit the submit button.
Don’t skip those fields
Sometimes online applications seem repetitive. You’re already sending your resume, so why do you also have to fill in a box with your work experience? Well, it could be for automated screening purposes. Leaving parts blank could take you out of the running. Plus, empty fields give the impression you aren’t trying very hard. And who wants to hire someone who can’t be bothered to go the extra mile from the get-go?
Scrub your social media accounts
Make sure your social media accounts are free of bigoted language, boozed-up pics and anything else you wouldn’t want a hiring manager to see. Why? A whopping 70 percent of hiring managers use social media to screen candidates, according to a 2017 CareerBuilder survey.
And don’t forget about LinkedIn. Take advantage of the site to show off skills and projects that you can’t fit into your application. An up-to-date LinkedIn profile will also show potential employers that you’re serious about finding a job, Forbes points out.
You’ll likely score bonus points if your profile picture on all social media sites is a balance of professional and personality-filled. This shows you’ve prioritized your career.