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What You Need to Know About Submitting a Resume Online

From personalizing each resume to the job you’re applying for to matching the skills to the job post as best you can, here are nine answers to the question, “What are the most effective things every job seeker should do before submitting their resume online?”

  • Customize Your Resume for Each Application
  • Use Relevant Keywords
  • Don’t Over-Complicate Your Resume
  • Extend Past One Page if Needed
  • Be Mindful of Sharing Personal Information
  • Format Correctly for Uploads
  • Take Advantage of Job Board Features
  • Try Not to Take Rejection Personally
  • Always Match Your Skills to the Job Post

Customize Your Resume for Each Application

While it’s certainly easier and faster to create one general resume and send it to multiple potential employers, tailoring your resume to fit each specific job opening can significantly increase your chances of getting an interview. 

To do that, start by carefully reading the job posting, and take notice of any important keywords and phrases used in the role description. Try to include them in your resume, so that it visibly matches the offer. Make sure you highlight your work experience and skills relevant to the position. 

By taking the time to customize your resume, you can showcase much better that you are the right fit for the role, and increase your chances of getting to the next stage of the recruitment process and eventually getting hired.

Maja Kowalska, Community Manager, Zety

Use Relevant Keywords

To maximize your chances of landing the job, sprinkle your online resume with all the pertinent and job-specific keywords. 

Many businesses use applicant tracking systems to scan resumes for keywords and phrases matching the job description. And even if they don’t, recruiters (who spend just a few seconds on your resume) are perfectly trained to pick up the right phrases. Your document may be overlooked if you use irrelevant terms, too few, or even too many. Relevant words boost resume visibility and increase the chances for further consideration. 

Thus, it’s essential to research the job description and use the same language and keywords the employer uses to describe the skills and qualifications they seek in a candidate. But there’s more. Using terminology specific to the job, you show you understand the industry and possess the skills and qualifications required for the position. This differentiates you from others and makes you stand out as a knowledgeable applicant.

Nina Paczka, Community Manager, Resume Now

Don’t Over-Complicate Your Resume

Job seekers tend to think that fancy resume formats with pictures and interesting infographics will make their resume stand out, but this does the opposite. Many ATSs cannot read these types of resumes and they do not get seen by hiring managers. The simpler the format is to read, the better. A one-column chronological format works best. Choose fonts that are easy to read and don’t add over two colors to your resume.

When working on the content, it is unnecessary to include every job experience and task you have done. It is a better practice to only add relevant experiences and to include quantifiable accomplishments in each experience rather than the tasks of that role.

Liz Hogan, Career Expert, Find My Profession

Extend Past One Page if Needed

As a recruiter who’s been around the block a few times, I’ve seen the shift to online resume submission in real time.

My top tip for job seekers who might be new to this process? The single-page limit doesn’t apply anymore.

As resumes lengthen thanks to an increase in education and job-hopping, the ease of considering an applicant’s storied history has also shifted.

I used to balk at multi-page resumes, but with search tools and font options at my fingertips, I’m more forgiving. However, this doesn’t mean you can go all out. Don’t send a ten-page resume or personal essay in place of a cover letter. As always, tailor the length to your experiences in the industry and cut any superfluous language.

Debbie Winkelbauer, CEO, Surf Search

Be Mindful of Sharing Personal Information 

When reviewing resumes for clients, I often see job seekers list their full personal details with reckless abandon and feel obligated to take on an older sibling role. The fact is, resumes are an easy target for scammers, and it’s so important to protect your personal information now that the entire job search process happens primarily online.

To make your resume safer for online submission, here are some simple ways to limit personal information on your resume while still allowing employers to easily contact you:

  1. Don’t include your full address -just your city and state are fine if you want to let an employer know you won’t need to relocate.
  2. Consider a designated phone number – using a free service like Google Voice, it’s easy to get a separate number to use for your job search.
  3. Don’t use your primary email address – create a professional email address for job applications to cut down on spam and keep you organized.

Samuel Johns, CPRW and Career Counselor, Resume Genius

Format Correctly for Uploads

This one may seem obvious and easy, but it’s a mistake many candidates make. Be sure to save your resume and cover letter (along with any supplemental materials) in a standard file format. 

Sending job search materials in a PDF file format is best practice. You’ll want to make sure no one else can edit, which is one reason to submit a PDF. Remember that recruiters and hiring managers may open your resume on different devices, so using the standard file format is critical.

Kelli Anderson, Career Coach, Resume Seed

Take Advantage of Job Board Features

Many reputable job boards offer effective features to make your resume perfect. You can take advantage of these job board features and use them in your resume. When you submit a resume online, there is an issue with data safety and protection. You can’t trust any site to send resumes online.

Reputable job boards protect your privacy and confidentiality. They control who sees your resume and, if required, mask your identity. You can easily delete and edit a resume or change it from active to inactive.

Privacy and safety have become more important than ever before because of increasing fraud job cases. Many times, identity theft of resume information creates major issues in the life of a job seeker. Moreover, many job boards allow you to make multiple profiles, making it easy to apply for different jobs.

Saikat Ghosh, Associate Director of HR and Business, Technource

Try Not to Take Rejection Personally

As a business psychologist, traditional resume sifting represents a major pet peeve of mine. Often, this amounts to little more than a hiring manager throwing out resumes they don’t like, with no accountability or justification. Instead, organizations should try to increase the objectivity of their recruitment processes and avoid relying on subjective and inherently biased selection tools.

Candidates should, therefore, remember that most resume sifting is inherently flawed, and thus they shouldn’t take rejection too personally. Moreover, as we often inundate organizations with resumes, there is a good chance that the organization didn’t even read your resume in any depth anyway.

Therefore, if you meet the essential requirements of the role and the organization refuses to give you a chance, then the organization itself is to blame for the rejection. Don’t allow this to affect your self-esteem.

Ben Schwencke, Business Psychologist, Test Partnership

Always Match Your Skills to the Job Post

Your skill set and experience should be easily identifiable on your resume and should definitely be included if they are also mentioned anywhere in the job description. 

Additionally, be sure to include any certifications or specializations that can add value to your application and that are mentioned within the job post. I mention all of this because the first part of online resume submissions is getting past the automatic filtering of resumes through the use of relevant keywords. This will also help employers quickly determine if you have what they’re looking for in their next hire.

Roksana Bielecka, Community Manager, ResumeHelp

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