How to Apply for Jobs Online

How to Apply for Jobs Online

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Copyright Sihuo0860371/iStockPhoto

Before you start applying for jobs online it's important to prepare to complete online job applications and to gather all the information you'll need to apply.

In order to apply for a job online and to complete online job applications, you'll need an email address to use for job searching, Internet access, an up-to-date resume, a cover letter for some jobs, your employment history, and your availability to work if you're applying for a part-time job.

In addition, as part of the job application process, you may need to take an online employment test and provide employment references.

Here's advice and tips on how to apply for a job online.

Get Your Resume Ready

Get Your Resume Ready. Copyright Pali Rao

Before you start looking for jobs and completing online job applications, you'll need an updated version of your resume ready to upload. You may also need a cover letter to apply for some jobs.

Make sure your resume includes your current contact information and work history. Save your resume as yournameresume.doc, rather than with a generic file name like "resume" so the hiring manager will connect you with the resume when they review it. Here's how to name your resume and cover letter.

Have a basic cover letter ready that you can customize for each job you apply to.

Some sites let you upload an existing resume from Microsoft Word on your computer with the click of a button. On other sites, you may need to copy and paste from your resume into an online profile or use a resume builder that is incorporated into the job application system.

Know Your Employment History

Your Employment History. Copyright Getty Images Tom Grill

Have the details of your employment history ready. Online application systems typically ask for the same information as paper job applications including your contact information, educational background and employment history including job titles, starting and ending dates of employment, and salary for each position.

You may need the full address of your previous employers, along with the phone number of the company and your supervisor's name.

Review Sample Job Application Forms

Download a Sample Job Application Form. Copyright Karen Roach

Download a sample job application form and complete it before you start your online applications. Print and fill it out so you know exactly what information you will need to enter when you apply for jobs online.

Use the completed sample job application as a guide when you're completing your own job applications.

Create Accounts on Job Sites

Create Job Site Accounts. Image Copyright Monster

Some job boards and company websites require users to create an account when they apply for jobs. It's a good idea to start your online job search by creating an account on at least one of the major job boards including Monster, CareerBuilder, and Dice for tech jobs. If you're seeking a professional position, it's also important to create a profile on LinkedIn.

In order to create an account, you'll need to register with a current email address, so your account can be confirmed. Your user name will either be your email address or a name you select. You'll be able to choose a password for your account.

Some sites allow job seekers to register with their Facebook or LinkedIn information. On those sites, you'll able to use your Facebook or LinkedIn user name and password to access the site. You may also be able to import your employment history from the site you use to connect.

Search for Jobs Online

Search for Jobs Online. Copyright LinkUp

In addition to using a job board, using a job search engine can save you a lot of online job search time.For example, LinkUp searches for jobs only on company websites, so all the listings you get will be current openings. searches jobs on job boards, newspapers, associations, and company web sites, including most of the Fortune 1000 companies. SimplyHired also searches across the Internet for jobs.

When you use a job search engine, you can search for jobs all in one place, rather than having to visit all these sites independently.

Search using the job search keywords list you created and you'll get a list of job openings that match your specifications very quickly. When you click on a job opening, you'll get instructions on how to apply and/or be directed to a company website to apply.

Apply for Jobs on Company Websites

Apply for Jobs on Company Web Sites. Copyright Getty Images Alistair Berg

Company web sites are a good source of job listings, especially if you know what companies you are interested in working for. You can go directly to the site and search for and apply for jobs online directly on many company web sites. At most company sites, you can apply for all level positions online - from part-time hourly jobs to top management positions.

Apply direct at the company web site whenever possible, even if you find the listing elsewhere. Your application will go directly into the company's applicant tracking system and you'll be able to monitor its progress.

Here are tips on how to apply for jobs on company websites.

When Are You Available to Work?

Know Your Availability. Copyright Getty Images Pando Hall

Especially when applying for part-time jobs, you may also be asked what days and hours you are available to work. Know your schedule and availability before you apply.

Job Search Keywords

Make a List of Job Search Keywords. Copyright Mark Paprocki

When you look for jobs online the most effective way to search is to use job keywords to find jobs in the career fields and industries you are interested in.

Keywords can be more effective than using the predefined search options in the job banks, because they search the entire listing (job description, job title, contact information, etc.) for the keyword(s) that you use.

Create a list of job search keywords that reflect your interests - location where you want to work, type of position, industry, type of job, etc. Review these lists of skills for resumes, so your skills match the job requirements.

Job Application Instructions

Job Application Instructions. Copyright Jakub Krechowicz

It's important to follow the instructions when applying for jobs online. You may need to fill out a profile, upload your resume and cover letter, and take an employment test, as part of the online application process.

Regardless of how you apply, it's important to follow the company's application instructions, to submit all the required materials, and to carefully proofread your application before you click the Submit button.

Keep track of the job site accounts you create so you can track your applications, apply for more jobs, and keep your resume updated. Here are the best ways to organize your job search.

Online Job Application Follow-Up

Online Job Application Follow-Up. Copyright Marco Volpi

It can be hard to follow up on online job applications, but if you have contacts at the company, they may be able to help get your job application noticed by the hiring manager.

Don't just wait for a response, check LinkedIn for contacts you may have at the company, ask for a referral or an introduction, if a contact person is listed in the job posting follow up.

SimplyHired's "Who Do I Know" lets you see who you're connected with at the company when you search for jobs.

If you're a college grad, check with your career office to see if they can provide you with alumni contacts at the company.

Here's more on how to find contacts at companies.

Email Job Applications

Copyright Alison Doyle

In addition to applying for jobs directly online, you may also need to apply via email.

Some employers, especially smaller companies, don't have systems in place to handle online job applications. There is a right way - and wrong ways - to send your resume and cover letter.

Here's how to apply for jobs via email including how to attach your resume and cover letter, what to include in your email message, what to put in the subject line, and what information you need to include in your email signature.