What could go wrong when submitting a resume online? With these tips, hopefully nothing.

Everyone knows the process for submitting a resume online. Right?

Well, we hope most people do. But that's not to say these tips and tricks can't help make the process easier, eliminate some risk of error, and set you up for more success in landing an interview.

Read the job description thoroughly and follow all directions

This is a no-brainer, right? You'd be surprised how many people simply skim the job description and conduct an online resume submission that doesn't match the description's application requirements. The easiest way to decrease your chances of landing an interview is to incorrectly submit the job application online.

Are they asking for salary requirements in addition to your resume? Do they want a cover letter? What about a salary history? Carefully read the instructions to ensure your online resume submission covers the correct bases.

Use a professionally written resume

Once submitted, your resume has multiple checkpoints to get through. For one, it needs to have the right keywords and formatting to make it past the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). From there, it needs to give the hiring manager applicable information (like what's in it for them) about your skills, experience, and successes. It takes action verbs, clear examples of accomplishments, etc. Sometimes it takes a professional resume writer to nail down these aspects on a resume.

Proofread, proofread, proofread 

One of the fastest ways to send your job application into the trash is to submit one riddled with errors, spelling mistakes, or grammar problems. Even if it's written by a professional resume writer, you should proofread your entire job application before submitting.

Follow online resume submission file directions closely 

Most job boards allow you to paste your ASCII (plain text) resume into an online form. Some major job boards will give you the option of uploading a Microsoft Word document. Each individual employer will have their own procedures for submission, which may include email, company Website, etc.

The file format is important since different operating systems (e.g., Windows, Mac OS, UNIX, etc.) encode and decode attachments differently, and sometimes files may not display correctly or open at all. Therefore, when submitting via email, we recommend turning off HTML or Rich formatting to ensure your ASCII text is not converted, as various systems and email clients handle display non-ASCII text differently. Then paste the ASCII version of your resume in the body of the email. Additionally, by attaching the presentation version (Word document),  employers who receive attachments will have the option to view your resume in a more visually-appealing format.

Unless instructed otherwise, use a cover letter with your resume

When submitting your resume via email — unless instructed otherwise — precede the plain-text version of your resume with a brief cover letter. When emailing a resume, paste the cover letter in the body of the email message area.

Consider confidentiality with job board online resume submissions

Many major job boards allow you to block access to specific companies. If confidentiality is a concern, or to help minimize exposure on job boards that don't block access, you might substitute the name of your present employer or other identifying factors with a generic descriptor (e.g., "Major Peripherals Manufacturer"). If you are very concerned about confidentiality, it would be best to skip sites that don't provide control over who has access to your resume. Also, if you are uneasy about publicly displaying your home address, you can remove the address from your resume and use only your email address and telephone number. Another option is to rent a mailbox during your job search.

Each job site or job description should give instructions on how to submit your resume. If you follow those instructions closely and you submit a well-written, updated resume, you should set yourself up for success with online resume submissions.

Is your resume ready to submit to your next job application? Double-check with a free, objective resume critique today! 

Recommended Reading

Related Articles: