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The process for securing employment in the 21st century is considerably different than in years past, and utilizing the internet to apply for jobs is a daily task for job seekers. Although internet-savvy people can easily navigate complex websites and apply for jobs, not everyone has a refined technical skill-set for today’s high-tech job searching process. To make matters worse, the application process is usually different for every website you visit, so knowing the following three tips could save you time and help you land a new job.

1) Combine your resume and cover letter into one document. Many websites will allow you attach only one file, which is your resume, but what should you do if you have a cover letter? The answer is simple – incorporate your cover letter into your resume document. This strategy allows you to send both of your documents as a single file, and including your cover letter can help set you apart from other candidates.

2) Utilize email. If you are emailing an employer, and prefer to keep your resume and cover letter separate (see point #1 above), consider utilizing the body of an email for your cover letter. Rather than sending an email that says “Dear hiring manager, my resume and cover letter are attached, thanks” (or something similar), copy and paste your cover letter into the email and attach only your resume. This is a good way to introduce your resume without making employers open multiple attachments. In addition, this method lets you avoid typing a generic sentence like the example in quotes above. The same method can be used for following up on an interview. Rather than attaching a follow-up note to an email, simply copy and paste the note into the body of the email. This is much less cumbersome for employers.

3) Make a plain text version of your resume. Some companies will not let you attach documents at all, leaving some job seekers scratching their heads about how to apply. Open your resume in Microsoft Word, click “Save As,” and then choose plain text. This file will look super plain, but it is perfect for copying and pasting into online applications. This is a last resort, since the file is pretty ugly, but it is better than not applying at all.

Applying to jobs online requires flexibility and intuition on your part, but following these techniques should increase your chances of success.

By Drew Roark