10 Tips on How to Apply for a Job Online

Updated July 5, 2023

Since many employers post their open jobs online to gather more qualified candidates, it's important to know how to apply for jobs on the internet. Knowing how and where to search for jobs online can help you find a role that suits your qualifications. Each online application process is different, but there are some fundamentals you can learn to make it easier to apply. In this article, we discuss steps you can take to apply for a job online.

Related: The Essential Job Search Guide

How to apply for a job online

You need a computer, internet access, an email address, a resume and a cover letter to apply for jobs online. Follow these steps to simplify your online job search and application process:

  1. Update your resume.

  2. Update your profile on professional networking platforms.

  3. Use keywords.

  4. Use job search engines and company websites.

  5. Be selective.

  6. Draft a separate cover letter for each application.

  7. Complete an online job application.

  8. Make sure your responses are error-free, accurate and fully completed.

  9. Track and follow up on your job applications.

  10. Keep applying.

1. Update your resume

Before you apply for online jobs, update your resume and draft a basic cover letter. Your resume should include your current contact information and your full employment history. Save your resume under a simple title containing the word "resume" that's easy for hiring managers to identify, with your first name, your last name and the current year.

You can use Google Docs to draft your resume for free, then save it on Google Drive and export it as a PDF document when you need to apply for jobs online.

Read more: 10 Steps for Building A Resume

2. Update your profile on professional networking platforms

Some recruiters and companies prefer looking at your profile on professional networking platforms rather than your resume, since the platform layout is similar for each profile. Make sure that your profile is up to date and that you don't have any images or posts that could deter hiring managers from hiring you. If you have a professional website that includes samples of your work, add a link to your online portfolio in your resume.

Related: How to Build Your Work Portfolio

3. Use keywords

Find keywords in the job descriptions for positions you want to apply for. Using relevant keywords in your resume can help a recruiter scan your resume easily. Some companies also use applicant tracking systems that search for keywords in applications. Adding some of those keywords can help the ATS send your resume to the hiring manager for further review.

Review your resume and include these keywords if they apply. For example, if the description states that you need excellent teamwork skills, try to incorporate examples of your teamwork abilities in your resume.

Related: Guide: Using Indeed.com Job Search

4. Use job search engines and company websites

Many companies post their open positions to job search engine websites. You can search these websites, like Indeed.com, for jobs you're interested in by using different filters, like position title, salary and location. There are also job search websites for niche fields and industries. Make sure you perform a thorough search to find all jobs that interest you.

If you know which organizations you want to work for, look at their websites directly for job listings under the Career section of their site. When you apply on a company website, your application will go into the applicant tracking system where you can check the status as often as you want.

Smaller companies may provide an email address to which you need to send your cover letter and resume. In the subject line of the email, add your full name and the title of the position. Use the body of the email as an abbreviated version of your cover letter. Give a short reason why you're applying for the role. Attach your resume and cover letter to the email.

5. Be selective

Make sure you understand the requirements for a job. Only apply if you meet the position's requirements. It is better to apply only for jobs at organizations you want to work for and that match your goals and skill set. Since it can take some time to fill out an application for each job, you can save more time by being selective during your search process.

6. Draft a separate cover letter for each application

Your cover letter should address the specific job requirements and highlight your skills and achievements. Mention how you would use your knowledge and skills in the position, and give examples of how you helped former employers with similar issues. Keep your cover letter focused and short to keep the interest of the recruiter.

Related: Q&A: Should You Include a Cover Letter?

7. Complete the online job application

To apply for jobs online, you need to register with job boards or websites by creating an account. This involves choosing a login name and password. You can usually use your email address as your login name for simplicity.

After creating an account, add your resume. You can do this in one of these ways:

  • Attaching a file of your resume by uploading it from a USB drive or computer to the website

  • Copying and pasting your resume into the fields on the application

  • Manually entering your work history into the required fields

Some websites have a function that automatically populates application details from your resume. Review the uploaded details to ensure they match your information.

8. Make sure your responses are error-free, accurate and fully completed

You should make sure that your spelling, grammar and content are error-free to improve your chances of getting an interview. Any information you give in your application should be honest and accurate to avoid misunderstandings.

Sometimes, you need to complete employment tests that assess your skills or personality to figure out if you are a good fit for the position or the company. There are many pre-employment tests, such as cognitive tests and emotional intelligence tests. Make sure you complete all the tests to ensure the hiring manager considers you for the role.

Related: 8 Free Career Aptitude Tests for Adults

9. Track and follow up on your job applications

Keeping track of your applications helps you know which position a hiring manager is referring to when they call you for an interview.

If you know someone at the company where you applied, call or email them to check on the status of your application. It's usually acceptable to follow up one week after submitting an application. If there was a specific window for applying to a job, such as one month after the posting date, try following up after that month, since some hiring managers wait to review all applications at once.

Read more: How to Follow Up on a Job Application

10. Keep applying

Finding a new job can take some time. Even after applying for several jobs online, continue networking online and offline. Your network can help you discover unadvertised vacancies. Remain confident using the support from your friends and family. If you keep on applying, you can be successful in finding a new job.

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