Picture yourself in front of the ideal job, perfectly aligned with your education and experience. You meticulously follow instructions and click "Send," but silence follows. Your application seems to vanish into the abyss of online submissions.

At times, your application lands in the heap of unexamined entries, destined to be forgotten without a response. How can you rise above the online applicant throng? 

Unless you possess connections or insider knowledge, you're applying alongside countless others. The hiring manager might struggle to sort through applications, possibly missing yours.

While online application processes are convenient, a generic CV risks getting lost. Applying indiscriminately is inefficient.

In a digital landscape, personalization amplifies your chances of standing out. Your goal isn't just applying—it's becoming the standout candidate.

Man leaning against the counter top, while working on laptop.
Man leaning against the counter top, while working on laptop.

how to stand out when you apply online? 

apply only if you’re qualified.

Make sure your resume includes the most important skills and experience the job posting identifies. 

Don't worry if you don't meet every requirement; companies often include wish-list items.

For instance, take "would be an asset" lightly, as well as years of experience. If they ask for 5 and you have 4, it's usually fine.

Someone with 5 years vs. 4 isn't vastly more qualified. However, staying within a year or two range improves your chances.

Use the cover letter to bridge gaps, linking your experience and potential value to the organization.

customize your resume and cover letter to the job.

Mass, generic resumes and cover letters just won’t cut it, not if you want to stand out. That’s why looking for a job is a job. 

You want someone reading your resume to know you go the extra mile even when looking for work. Address key requirements in the job description and highlight your training and experience that directly apply. 

You don’t (or shouldn’t!) need to be reminded to make sure your resume and cover letter are well written and focused, with clear, simple language, and free from spelling or grammar errors

Even electronically, your job application is your first impression. Make it a good one!

Go further : essential elements to include on (or leave off!) your resume

apply for jobs you actually want.

Crafting your resume and cover letter individually is more productive than mass-emailing. So it is a good idea to only apply for jobs you’d accept in a heartbeat.

You’re more likely to stay longer and be more engaged in a role and with an organization if you’re happy with the work and if your values align with the company’s. 

Let that enthusiasm shine through in your cover letter. Express excitement in a professional and polite manner, while letting your personality show.

make your resume stand outwatch our video and get expert advice from your partner for talent.

be a little creative.

Avoid overwhelming your resume with a rainbow of colors and fancy fonts that hinder readability, reminiscent of deciphering hieroglyphics.

Your resume should be polished yet a touch of color or personality can set it apart from the monotony.

Imagine flipping through 200 papers; the few with color or distinction catch your eye first.

One rule: for highly traditional settings like law firms, stick to simple black and white.

Remember, attention is just the start. Content matters most in that design.

Need a starting point? Search online for adaptable resume templates, bypassing design hurdles without requiring graphic design skills.

add relevant keywords to your resume.

Organizations often use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to initially review resumes. ATS scans for relevant keywords and phrases, narrowing down candidates.

Only after the ATS selects you does a human review your resume.

To improve your chances, match the job description's language in your resume and cover letter.

Go further: does your resume pass the 6-second skim test?

keep your linkedin profile up to date. 

Once your resume and cover letter capture a hiring manager's interest, expect them to scope out your LinkedIn profile from the "to be considered" pile.

Don't overlook what comes after step one – writing the application. Recruiters often inspect online profiles, especially LinkedIn, before interviews.

Ensure that your social media presence linked to your name is cleanUpdate your LinkedIn profile and include all the contact information needed for recruiters to reach out to you, such as your phone number and email address.

It's a chance to bridge resume gaps and add achievements, courses, and volunteer work.

Whereas your resume should be a summary of your greatest hits, your LinkedIn can be a lot more detailed and hiring managers won’t blink an eye. 

So load it up with all your skills, qualifications and past jobs! This is where hiring managers will go for a deep dive into your qualifications after you’ve passed the initial resume check.

It’s amazing how much the small details matter when you’re applying to jobs online. 

You might believe customizing your resume is unnecessary if it's likely to end up in the 'no' pile with a 98% chance.

But it’s the resumes that are unique, personalized, and clear about why they want this job, not just any job, that stand out in the job application process and are memorable to hiring managers.

ready to grow your career?

Make sure your resume is up-to-date. Then share it with us to connect with a recruiter and be matched with job opportunities that works for you.

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