1. Thoroughly read job descriptions. MOST IMPORTANT as most recruiters will tell you their biggest turn-off is hearing from job seekers who apply even if they aren't qualified for the job. This jeopardizes your application for that job and your reputation. Take the time to understand exactly what the company expects from applicants for jobs that interest you; do not ignore the detailed description of what the job entails.
2. Create an original cover letter. If the company asks for a cover letter, be sure to include one. Mention how you will use your knowledge and skills on the job. Avoid sending out a generic, run-of-the-mill cover letter. Use the cover letter as an opportunity to showcase your personality, qualifications, and desire for the job.
3. Identify keywords and tailor your resume. Take your time and look over your resume. Find the keywords in the job description and make sure you indicate how your accomplishments address those requirements. Be sure to customize your resume and/or cover letter slightly to each specific job.
4. Make sure your responses are on target and error free. Triple-check your content for spelling, content, and grammar. Additionally, make sure all of your information is completely spelled out, avoid abbreviations. In many cases, abbreviations that may be understood readily by the hiring managers are not familiar to the first-line recruiters.
5. Maintain one candidate profile per company. Once you apply to a company that uses an ATS, your personal information is saved. While you should tailor your resume and/or cover letter for each job submission, maintain one master profile for all of your applications for that company.
6. Fill out all fields within the application process. At JOBS FOR NATIONALS, we have taken every step to ensure that your application process by default (once you have registered) does not exceed 60 seconds from the time you have identified the job. By filling out every field, you are not just giving information that could make you stand out from the competition, but also demonstrating your interest and desire for the job.
7. Ensure your social profile is current. Companies are now encouraging candidates to include professional information from their social profiles, typically LinkedIn, Google+, or Facebook, within their online application process.
8. Clean up your public social media profile. A technology-savvy hiring company is more likely to take an active interest in your social media profile postings. Make sure you don't have public images or content that would distract, or worse yet, deter hiring managers or recruiters from wanting to hire you. Don't provide red flags for recruiters and hiring managers.
9. Review all the information before submitting. Before hitting the submit button, take a final glance at the content you have provided. Keep in mind that once you hit that button, your information is sent to the Employer directly. First impressions are important, so make the best one possible when you apply.
Best of luck!