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Applying Online (and More!)

The process of applying for jobs has changed tremendously in recent years.That's partly due to increased competition and new skill demands.

Technology's role is equally important. Applying online has a major impact on submitting applications, screening, and employers' decisions to interview.

Here's what you need to know:

I "Applicant Tracking Software" (ATS) and "Key Words" Count. Most resumes submitted to websites are screened by Applicant Tracking Software (ATS).

ATS save employers time and money by searching hundreds of resumes and selecting those with the qualifications employers seek.

ATS are programmed by employers and recruiters to identify "key words" or the skills, education, and experience required for a position. The most "qualified" resumes (aka applicants) are more likely to reach a real person and be considered for an interview.

II Websites and ATS May Be "Picky" About Technology. They may only "accept" certain formats and each ATS is different. Read employers' instructions to be sure your software choice is listed and keep things simple. Most ATS have problems with bullets, tables, text boxes, symbols, hyperlinks, and special characters.Even if you're able to upload or cut and paste your resume, it may be difficult to view. The most reliable format for applying online is plain text.

III Email Formats Are Important, Too. Formatting issues can result in email attachments that are difficult to read and look unprofessional. When you send your materials via email, we recommend attaching them in PDF format. It's the one that's easiest to read on multiple devices.

IV Traditional Applications (Hard Copy) Resumes. These are the documents most people think of as resumes. They contain bullets and bold and are created and saved in Microsoft Word. Applicants mail them through the US Postal Service, fax them, or deliver them in person to recruiters and interviews. Today, most employers require job seekers to apply online or to email their resumes; however, we recommend bringing a hard copy to interviews and networking events. Traditional resumes still have a place in your job search and it's important to always have one available.

V Summary. Always Use Key Words and Remember:

  1. For Websites: Use Plain Text documents.
  2. For Email: Attach PDF documents.
  3. For Regular Mail, Fax or In-Person Delivery: Use traditional resumes and cover letters printed on matching resume paper and envelopes in conservative colors. 

Our resumes and cover letters work for all types of application processes, with special attention to applying online. We provide our finished resumes in Microsoft Word, PDF, and Plain Text, with instructions included.

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