If you get immediate email responses or zero responses regarding your online application, it is because a computer is scanning your information and matching it to the job. This may be based on certain keywords or answers. You could be rejected because you don’t have the required degree even if you have 10 years of experience.
The problem with that is keywords cannot tell a manager whether you will be the right fit. If you don’t have an aptitude or attitude for learning or teamwork, it doesn’t matter how much skill you have.
You may be familiar with lengthy application questionnaires. Some people won’t spend more than 15 minutes on one, while others will spend up to 45 minutes. Even if you are willing to take the time, the computer system can be buggy. Many time out while you are working. Some won’t let you proceed unless you answer a question a certain way such as your date of completion for a degree. Some questions don’t give an answer choice that even applies to you. For instance, if you work a temp job, you were neither fired nor laid off. There is also the issue of the system telling you that you neglected to fill out a space, when there isn’t one to be found on the page. Uploading your documents into a readable format can also be a nightmare. Many people complain that the questions about degree are not acceptable. A job might ask you if you have a Bachelor’s degree. You answer would be no even though you have a Master’s degree. Or, you might have a Bachelor’s degree in another field. All you can do is try to answer in the spirit of the question. Even if you do get through the questionnaire, you might be hit with a personality test that you also have to pass.
Seek out the human resource or department manager. Get their contact from the company website or from the job ad. If you cannot call them, try email. If that doesn’t work, follow and communicate with them on social media. Send them your resume and cover letter. Your cover letter should explain how you can specifically contribute to the job and the company. Let the manager or supervisor know that you will be filling out an online application. In this case, they might actually look for it coming through.
If that trail leads to a dead end, try getting a job through friends. If you know someone who works at a place, your chances of getting an interview increase exponentially. If you are a teenager, this means asking your parent’s friends to pass along your application or resume. In this vein, try using a recruiter too. They have direct relationships with hiring personnel.
Make sure that you are not applying to jobs that are above your qualifications. Don’t apply to be an assistant manager if you have never worked in retail before. Use keywords that are mentioned in the job ad in your resume and in your answers. If they are asking for customer service experience, don’t say you have sales experience. Try to answer questions by keeping in mind what the company wants to hear. Be consistent. If you are asked the same question three different ways, answer the same way every time.
Online job applications can be tedious and frustrating, but don’t give up. They are just the first step. Try using other avenues to gaining a job. The best way is through networking. Use contacts from your college career center, sign up at a job agency, and use your friends and family to gain a foot in a door.