10 tips on how to apply for a job online

Why is landing a job so hard?The dirty little secrets of the recruitment process How to land a job interview

A friend of mine had been applying khổng lồ jobs prior to the pandemic, and he hadn’t landed a single interview.

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I thought I’d have the solution khổng lồ his problem in all of five minutes (I used lớn be pretty good at applying for jobs online), but it turns out he was already doing everything “right.” 

His resume listed quantified bullet point after quantified bullet point. The formatting looked good. He tailored his cover letters to lớn the position descriptions. His online presence is superb; he owns the front page of Google results for his name. Và LinkedIn rated his profile as an “All-Star.” Oh yeah, he’s also gainfully employed.

You might be thinking, “Well, if he applied through job boards, that’s his first problem.” 

And I’m thinking, “He used lớn apply through job boards and land interviews more than 60 percent of the time just a few years ago, so what’s changed?” 

Turns out, A LOT. Và I would’ve never known if it wasn’t for my friend stumping me with his seemingly simple quandary. I’m flabbergasted by how out of touch I was with the modern job hunt, which is why I needed to write this post. 

I created this article lớn demystify the modern recruiting process & help qualified candidates figure out how khổng lồ apply for jobs online. So if you’re ready to lớn make it past the initial resume screening process and score an interview—and ultimately land the opportunity you deserve—then keep reading.

Why is landing a job so hard?

The world has changed in many ways since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the way we work và apply for jobs—especially for young people.

According to a 2020 study from the Economic Policy Institute, unemployment among workers between the ages of 16 and 24 rose from 8.4% in 2019 khổng lồ nearly 25% in 2020. 

Yet, even prior to the world turning upside down, the lamest of job ads received an insane amount of applications. The consensus seems to be about 250 applications per job listing, on average. 

Of course, super-competitive positions get a lot more… supposedly anyway.

Out of 250 applications, only 4-6 will be interviewed, and only 1 will receive an offer.

And you know what they say… ain’t no recruiter got time for that.

But seriously, they don’t—not in a metrics-driven world, where companies are obsessed with automating everything to bởi things as fast as possible, even at the cost of quality. 

Applicant Tracking Systems: What you need lớn know

Enter the $1.3 billion recruiting technology/software industry. 


While there are a variety of modern recruitment tools for each stage of the hiring process, the one that will affect you the most is the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). 

It’s pretty much guaranteed that your application is going through an ATS any time you apply for a job online, since at least 98 percent of Fortune 500 companies use one.


TLDR: ATS help recruiters/hiring managers collect, sort, & organize a large number of applications. And if you don’t know much about how these systems work, you’re going to have a hard time getting your application in the hands of a real human. 

Most common ATS features

Rather than manually reviewing each resume, recruiters & hiring managers using an ATS search for resumes based on keywords, or have the system filter or automatically rank applicants. 

In many cases, recruiters rely on the giải pháp công nghệ to do a first pass of resumes, meaning you can be removed from consideration by an algorithm without ever being reviewed by a real person.


While there are hundreds of ATS on the market, most of them danh mục the same features. Understanding them is key lớn landing an interview, so here are the big ones that will determine whether a human ever sees your resume.

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Automatic applicant ranking/scoring

Many ATS provide an automatic “match rank” or score for each applicant.


The system will parse the information from your resume, and compare it with the job description, looking for specific keywords, then provide a score from 0 to 100, or one to 10, that tells recruiters how qualified a candidate is for said job, based on the criteria mix by the hiring manager. 

They’ll also score you based on the answers you submit via the online form, aka “knockout questions.” 


For example, job posts that ask for your location are likely using that information as a filter that will alter your overall qualification score. If a job posting is looking for someone with management experience, they’ll scan for words lượt thích “manager” or “team leader.”

Comprehensive Candidate Profiles

Many ATS will automatically create a comprehensive, wildly detailed profile of you based on your digital footprint và other “public” information. All they need is your thư điện tử address to populate every piece of available content about you online. 

According lớn Workable, aggregating candidates’ public information is a way lớn “humanize” the process, và they danh sách it as a must-have feature for today’s ATS. Here’s how they describe it:

“I want to lớn see faces dammit. & tweets. And maybe other stuff that humanizes this record.”

While I appreciate the idea of humanizing these rather cold automated systems, I’m not sure I agree with that assessment. Such tools can lead khổng lồ unconscious bias, which may present even more roadblocks for job candidates. 

Many recruitment tools even go so far as lớn make predictions about candidates based on the information they surface about them online.


Resume Parsing

When aggregating information about you, many ATS use what’s known as “resume parsing”—that’s how an ATS extracts & organizes your resume into “structured data,” so they can bởi stuff like rank/score you automatically. 

These tools need khổng lồ be able khổng lồ scan and read the text on your resume, which means if you’re submitting your resume as a PDF, or using creative typography that’s hard for these systems to lớn read, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage. The ATS may not be able to lớn read your data well, which will result in it being jumbled when handed over khổng lồ a human, or skipped over altogether.

Resume storage and search filters

Here’s one good thing about ATS—even if you are passed over for a role, the system will likely store your resume in their database. This allows potential employers lớn access your resume in case they have another role lớn fill that matches your profile.

ATS allows hiring managers to search by any keyword, and often with Boolean search, which connects keyword using AND, OR, NOT and NEAR.

For example, they may be able to tìm kiếm for something like “Graphic designer và web developer NEAR Orlando, Florida.” 

Some tools will even let job managers filter candidates based on things like how often you’ve switched jobs, how old your profile is, or whether you’ve been referred or recommended by someone already working within their organization. 

Filters may include the job seeker’s location, application source, age of your profile, & whether or not you’re an employee referral.

So what can job applicants do to make sure their resumes make it past these automated systems? 

One major step you can take in the right direction is lớn include keywords you suspect are relevant khổng lồ the jobs you want in your resume. This will help you stand out when employers are using an ATS. 

I’ll cover other resume và job tips a little later in this article, but for now, let’s đánh giá a few other (non-technical) aspects of the recruiting world that may be holding you back from getting a job.

The dirty little secrets of the recruitment process 

In an ideal world, all hiring managers would follow the rules when hunting for candidates. But in reality, there are some (often shady or even downright illegal) things that recruiters may vày that affect your likelihood of getting a job.

Backchanneling / backdoor references

It’s no secret that many recruiters rely heavily on LinkedIn to lớn find candidates for mở cửa positions. 

If a recruiter sees your resume and is interested in interviewing you, they may reach out to lớn you right away for more information. But there’s a chance they may first vị something a little sneaky (and potentially illegal) on social truyền thông media channels lượt thích LinkedIn. 

Hiring managers may message any mutual connections you have to lớn see what they’ll say about you. 

This is why it’s important to lớn nurture connections on LinkedIn when you’re hunting for a job, và to gather as many positive recommendations on your profile as possible. You want to make sure that anyone a recruiter contacts will have great things to lớn say about you—and if you’ve burned bridges with a former employer for whatever reason, it is likely wise khổng lồ remove them as a connection on the platform.