A Women of Substance Shares Online Application Tips

Liz Martin knows all the secrets for securing your dream job. After spending a decade hiring top talent for Target headquarters, she’s spent the last thirteen years as a consulting director at her own company, Network Careers, Inc. She and her partner coach clients through every step of landing a new job, from search strategies to offer negotiations. Martin generously shared her expert advice for job applicants.

Fine-tune your search

Follow sites like Indeed.com and MakeitMSP.org for job ideas. Successful applications take time. Invest it wisely by only applying for jobs matching your talents and experience.

Hone your online application skills

Big companies use applicant tracking systems to narrow the field by screening for “keywords.” Find them on websites and in job descriptions, then incorporate them into everything you submit.

Customize your resume & cover letter

Don’t expect one resume and cover letter to fit every prospective job. Create custom versions for each opportunity, adopting each organizational culture’s tone and including corporate lingo. Focus on your accomplishments rather than providing a list of job titles. Use a PDF for your resume unless otherwise directed to eliminate format translation issues. Create a professional document title for your resume; it will show up on your online applications.

Upgrade your LinkedIn game

Build your network to show that you’re connected to lots of people. Post a picture, dressed for the jobs you want. Join groups and follow companies where you’d like to work. If you’re currently unemployed, use a placeholder job such as “freelancer.” Check your privacy settings to avoid flurries of notifications as you fine-tune your profile. Add your LinkedIn URL to your resume.

Follow up

Send carefully crafted thank you emails for every interview within 24 hours. If you have corporate contacts at prospective employers, tell them you applied online.


Martin reminds us that “people hire people.” Aim for a personal touch, layering application work with reaching out to people you know. Always send a note to anyone who helped you with an introduction or recommendation. If you turn down an opportunity, respond promptly with gratitude. Stay in touch.

Career searches can be intimidating, but Martin conveys confidence. “If you remain open, focus on the things you can control, stay patient and persistent, it will pay off.” Martin emphasizes the necessity of sharp digital media skills for job applications, but her final bit of advice relies on tradition. “Handwritten thank you notes will never go out of style.” So send a prompt email, then impress your next boss with your best penmanship.

“If you remain open, focus on the things you can control, stay patient and persistent, it will pay off.”