4. Show them who you are. Nowadays, having just a cover letter and resume are not enough for certain job industries. If you’re going after a job in the arts, such as photography, film, or design, an online portfolio is absolutely essential. Send them the link within your cover letter, or if you’re mailing an application, provide a carefully designed CD or card with your Web site. Depending on the type of job you’re applying for, you may want to provide links to articles about your past work, Web sites of past employers, or online samples of your work – use your own discretion and do not provide additional information if it is in excess of specific application instructions.
5. Be patient and don’t give up. The most discouraging aspect of online job hunting is that once you click “Send” there are no guarantees and no promises. You could spend two hours writing the perfect cover letter and never even receive a response from the employer! Once, I spent an entire afternoon putting together a carefully designed application, all of which I printed and mailed to the employer the next day. I received a generic letter that my application had been received and nothing further. I was crushed. It’s the sad truth in digital-age job hunting: nine times out of ten you will hear nothing. That’s why it pays to apply for as many jobs as possible.
6. What about follow up? This is a tricky topic and there are no right answers. Again, you need to use your best judgment based specifically upon the job listing. For local job listings on small websites or informal job posts, dropping an email to see if your resume was received should be acceptable. If you’ve applied for a national listing, highly competitive position or employer, or a job that had a complicated and rigid application process, chances are that any attempts at follow-up will be ignored, just like your application. It’s the hard, cold truth of job searching online. I highly discourage phone calls unless the listing specifically requests them, because usually the reason the employer posted online in the first place was to avoid receiving cold calls. As well, never, I repeat – NEVER – drop in to check on an application that you sent online! I learned this the hard way, when I looked up the address of a company I’d applied to and decided to stop by and introduce myself. The office manager coolly muttered under her breath something about “…if everyone that applied dropped in…” and the woman in charge of hiring pretended to appreciate my enthusiasm, but I never received so much as an email after that.
My last bit of advice? I said, don’t give up! Check your Web sites daily so that you can be the first to apply to jobs online. Continue perfecting your cover letters and resumes. Keep checking Google for new places to search for jobs. The truth is that you never know when or where the perfect job for you will come along. I can attest to that, since my current job – and the best job I’ve ever had – was a three-sentence ad on craigslist! I almost didn’t apply, because one of the requirements was that you lived within thirty miles, and I was an hour away. So I sent an unusually short email with a few links to my work. I got a call the next morning, and two days later, got the job.
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