The reality of the digital age is that eventually, we will conduct most previously manual tasks over the internet. For millennials, this means that finding a job is now a digital venture. And as many of us can attest, applying for a job online is exhausting. Many job boards are packed with applications, and most of them never even receive a follow-up email on the status of their application. Unfortunately, most millennials have few other options outside of applying online, as many companies have already moved away from traditional paper applications in favor of online versions. As a result, many applicants opt to use several positions at the same company to increase their likelihood of a callback. But this can backfire, as hiring managers tend to overlook applicants that look like they are applying randomly. Applying online can be challenging, but it is not hopeless. People do get interviews and even hired after applying online.
Below is a list of tips to make your online application stand out:
The Online Application: Many companies are switching to a standardized online application. Hiring managers find online applications easier to follow as mistakes on an application are easier to track online. If you rush through the application, they will notice. That is why it is essential to take your time to double-check that all the sections are correctly filled out.
The Resume: Your resume should be clean, clear, and concise. A hiring manager won’t even read it if it is tough to follow. Your entire resume should be in the same format and font so that it looks well-structured. There are several online resume templates that you can download for free to help you organize your resume. When listing your skillset, opt for brief bullet points rather than long sentences. List your education but don’t overstate it; companies care more about your professional experience than they do about what clubs you were part of in college. Your professional experience/work history should be easy to follow. Ensure that the company name, your job title, the dates you were employed, and the duties you performed during your time there are laid out. A brief description of the company and your work there will also help a hiring manager understand your background. Lastly, have someone check your resume for grammatical errors.
The Cover Letter: Add one! Most people will only fill out an application and send in a resume, so adding a cover letter can help an applicant stand out from the crowd. A cover letter is your chance to describe your background in more detail. It is also a place where applicants can lay out how they can be an asset to the company they are applying to. If you are applying to several jobs, make sure that your cover letter fits the different positions you are applying for. A cover letter that is too general will not get a second look.
The Follow Up: After sending in your completed application and cover letter, you should also send a follow-up email 1-2 weeks after you send your application. Hiring managers receive hundreds of resumes a day and do not have the time to go through all of them. A follow-up email will show that you are enthusiastic about the position, which will increase the likelihood of your application getting a second look.