I agree with the overwhelming response of careerists to spend time networking and doing company research as a job seeker, instead of posting resumes online. The facts are there: online job applications account for 2-5% of job offers.

That said, if you find a suitable company through your networking and research, chances are they are going to ask you to apply online, even if you claim an inside contact. So you’re stuck being just one more needle in the hiring person’s haystack. Here are some quick tips to make your online resume stand out from the rest of the chaff:

  • Make sure it’s clear your objective lines up with the job requisition and within the first few lines

    of your resume. With online applications, there’s a lot of “misfire” candidates due to the ease and safety of the application process. You want to show respect for the hiring manager and their organization by helping them see you’re on target.

  • If you’re short on qualifications, be honest about where you are short and explain why the hiring person should still consider you. For example, if you don’t have a degree but have double the years experience plus professional training, make sure you state this early and clearly.
  • Create an ASCII or “text only” resume, especially if the online application process involves cutting and pasting your resume into a web form. This will make your resume easier to read. For more on ASCII resumes, read a quick article on what they are and why they’re essential.

In following these three guidelines, you’ll win some goodwill from the often overworked, blurry-eyed hiring manager who’s tired of sifting through poorly formatted, unfocused, and irrelevant resumes.

Be the breath of fresh air amongst all that online resume pollution and you can beat the odds.

LinkedIn's Best Answers, Resumes