Applying for Jobs Online

By: Tracy Levine, President, Advantage Talent Inc.

As a recruiter, I have been approached by numerous people complaining about having to apply for most jobs online.  They want to know if it works for anyone.   Ignoring the tongue in cheek title of this blog, the answer is yes.  Most people will start their job application process with a company by applying for the job online.  This could be directly on a company’s website, a recruiter’s website or a job board.

Job Hunters take actions that assure they will not make it through the computer gatekeeper to even be considered for a job.  The following is a list of the top 5 reasons why applying for a job online does not work for many Job Hunters.

1. Downloaded resume templates with formatting. 

It may make you feel good that your resume looks totally traditional or “pretty” but the computer gatekeeper will not be impressed.  All computer databases utilize plain text.  This means your resume will be converted to the most basic of letters and numbers.   Plain Text does not read pictures or any type of formatting other than indent and return.  Therefore, the computer will interpret the tables and other formatting the best it can.  Your information might not make it into the correct fields.  If you cannot be found, you will not be hired.

2. Submitting Functional Resumes.

Do not even bother to apply online if you use a functional resume.  A functional resume almost assures that you will not come up toward the top of a list or on a list at all.  This is even truer if you post on a large job board.  Functional resumes are not computer gatekeeper friendly.  The computer cannot determine how much experience the candidate has within any particular skill or when the candidate last used the skill.

3.  Applying for jobs that the Candidate is not qualified to fill.

Many job hunters have become spammers.  DO NOT Apply for jobs that do not match your skill set.  Experts have been telling the unemployed to think of different ways their skills can be used.  Good Advice but irrelevant when applying for jobs online.  Computers do not think out of the box.  They find the resume that fits the exact words used in the data base search. Do you fit the job description?

4.  Trying to bypass the online application process.

There are many experts that are erroneously telling candidates to bypass the online job application.  These “experts” believe you are more likely to get the job if you send your resume directly to the recruiter or hiring manager.  In most cases this is not a good idea.

Larger corporations use the HR department for a reason.  In the past, many of these companies have been accused of hiring discrimination and sued.  To prevent any appearance of impropriety these companies make candidates go through the HR department first.  Depending on the company, going directly to the hiring manager automatically gets the candidacy denied.  Trust me on this one; it happens more than most people know.  In most instances the candidate will never know this is the reason they did not get the job.

In today’s market, employers and recruiters are inundated with resumes for each job opening. The employer posts jobs online to keep their e-mail box from getting bombarded with 1000s of resumes not attached to a specific job.  Sending the employer or recruiter an e-mail can backfire.  Do not do it unless you are truly the best or an expert in the field as it relates to the job that has been posted.  I cannot speak to others’ practices but we do read all of the resumes attached to job orders.  Typically, the person in charge of the job will look at all of the resumes for the job at once.  It is easier not to let any candidate slip through the cracks if the job description and the candidate competition are viewed simultaneously.  If the candidate is the right person for the job, they will be found in the group review.

5.  It is a lottery.

Anyone who has a computer can apply for jobs online.  It is easy.  Therefore, the competition is greater.  This should not discourage a candidate from applying.  We have all heard the saying, “The cream will rise to the top.”

Applying for jobs online does work.  If you are not having success it might be because of some of the things listed above.