11 Steps for Applying for a Job Online Successfully

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 10 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many employers post job postings on their own websites or communal job boards to attract qualified candidates. Completing online job applications requires an understanding of the relevant information employers request and how to search for jobs that suit your interests and qualifications. Though online application processes differ, knowing the fundamental steps for how to apply for jobs online may make it easier for you to complete applications successfully. In this article, we discuss the various steps of applying for a job online and the information required in most application forms.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Job Application

11 steps for applying for a job online

Follow these steps for applying for a job online to simplify your job application process and ensure your applications are successful:

1. Ensure you have the basic requirements for making online job applications

Prepare to apply for online jobs by gathering the appropriate equipment and materials. Some online job applications involve taking online tests and interviews, which often require thorough and may also require a webcam or a high-quality video recording device. Research various companies and job roles to find a suitable career path based on your interests and experience.

2. Write your resume or update existing ones

Just like other methods of job applications, the online application process requires uploading a resume and a cover letter, though they differ depending on the company. Write a new resume or update the current version with your current information, such as your:

  • contact information

  • personal statement

  • education history

  • work history

  • skills

  • certifications

  • interests

For the work history, include each of your previous or present job titles, duties and start and end dates of the employment duration. Provide the names, addresses and phone numbers of previous employers. List each job title in reverse chronological order, beginning with your current or most recent position and ending with your oldest job. Customise the resume to match the specific job requirements and choose your references well, and save your resume using a title that enables employers to identify it quickly, such as using your name and resume or resume.

Related: 10 Tips to Enhance Your CV

3. Choose professional references

Many online job applications ask you to provide professional recommendations so that they can learn more about you. It's essential to select professional references who can recommend you and speak highly of you. A great way to have reliable references is through maintaining contact with former bosses, colleagues and university tutors for recent graduates. Be sure to contact them before sharing their information, and ask them for the best phone number and email address for potential employers to use to contact them.

4. Write a cover letter or update the existing one

While not all do, some online job applications require cover letters. Consider drafting and keeping a cover letter template that you can customise according to individual job requirements. Your cover letter could show your enthusiasm for the role. It could also include examples of how your experience and skills relate to the job and how the company can benefit by hiring you.

5. Write and update your online profiles on professional networking, job sites and social media platforms

Employers sometimes use professional networking sites to hire staff as the layout may be similar to other job sites, making it easier to select candidates. Consider uploading your resume on job sites to make yourself visible and access online job applications easily. Updating your profile to highlight your skills and ensuring your digital footprint reflects you in a positive way may be beneficial for securing a job, as many employers may complete social media background checks to ensure you can reflect the company positively. Think about choosing to use the privacy settings to keep some information from the public.

Consider signing up with industry-specific sites and job sites by creating accounts or building a professional website. This may help you find the best opportunities for you. Linking your resume, work samples and other valuable personal information to the professional website can effectively highlight your skills to potential employers.

6. Search for jobs by using keywords

Keywords may make your job search and application easy and effective. Instead of using pre-defined search options, use job search keywords that suit your preferred job, such as the job title, location, industry and salary range. Check the keywords in the job description and review your resume to match the skills required using these keywords. Some employers may use an automatic tracking system to help them search and find applications with specific keywords and short-list those candidates.

It's beneficial to include the key competencies, skills and qualifications in your resume for further consideration by hiring managers. For instance, the job description may show that they require a marketer with a bachelor's degree in arts, excellent communication, teamwork and analytical skills. Try to use the keywords marketer, bachelor's degree in arts, excellent communication skills, analytical skills and teamwork ability in your application. The system will scan resumes with these keywords and drop those without them.

Related: Your Online Career Coach: Advanced Job Search Tips to Get the Job

7. Use job search engines and company websites

You can find jobs on job boards, company websites and newspaper websites. Using job search engines can save you time and effort used in searching and applying for jobs online. You can also apply directly on company websites by checking and selecting positions in the career section, enabling you to monitor progress in the applicant tracking system. Some companies, especially smaller ones, often provide an email address to send your cover letter and resume.

8. Select jobs carefully and be flexible

Researching jobs requires you to focus on your goals, skills, interests and qualifications to find suitable careers. It's essential to understand what the job requirements are before you submit applications. Since online job applications may involve lengthy procedures, save time by being selective and apply only for positions that you're eligible for and want to pursue. It also enables you to focus on fewer and relevant jobs, which can maximise your chances of being successful.

To be flexible, consider various employment options. This could be part-time, freelance or weekend jobs before you find full-time employment. These positions can provide valuable experiences and income, which may boost future job applications.

9. Prepare for employment tests and interviews

Some online job applications require competency tests or video interviews. Employers use these tests to assess your personality and skills and ensure you meet the selection criteria for the job. Such tests include aptitude and practical tests, making it easier for employers to consider you if completed successfully. While some tests give immediate results on whether you can move to the next step in the application process, others take time to provide feedback.

Thorough research and online practice from sample competency and interview questions may help you pass and move to the next level. Some companies give several chances to retake tests, while others have only one chance of taking the test. Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to prepare and complete the tests successfully.

Related: 7 Types of Employment Tests: Definitions and Purpose

10. Apply for jobs

Start applying for jobs online once you have everything in place and have identified the jobs that interest you and match your skill sets. Read and follow all instructions and submit the required documents to make a successful online job application. Ensure you provide accurate and honest information to avoid disqualification and misunderstandings. Preview or download the application form first, go through it, answer the questions and use it as a guide when filling the online application form.

The format for uploading your resume and cover letter may vary depending on the job site. It may include uploading the documents as certain file types, copying and pasting them into the online profile or using a resume builder. Proofread your applications before submitting them to ensure you provided the correct information. Complete any necessary employment tests and adhere to set guidelines and time limits, and be sure you have stable internet access when finishing these assignments.

Related: How to Show You Meet Key Selection Criteria When Applying for a Job

11. Follow up on your online job applications

Follow up on your online job applications to ensure you stay updated and with your progress and potential additional requirements to complete. Consider calling or emailing the contact person in charge of hiring or someone you may know at the company. However, be sure to wait at least a few days before following up to ensure the hiring managers have enough time to review all applications.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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