Applying for jobs online can be more efficient than visiting companies’ websites or bringing resumes to job fairs. But it can also become overwhelming if you’re applying to too many jobs and not focusing on the ones you’re most interested in.

Personalization amplifies your chances of standing out from the competition. Ensure your application includes the most important skills and experience the company identifies in its job posting. If you don’t meet every requirement, don’t worry; companies often include wish-list items (for example, years of experience). If the employer wants 5 and you have 4, for instance, it’s usually fine to stay within a year or two range.

Read the application instructions carefully and follow them to the letter. Almost half of job applicants don’t follow directions, says Andrea Clement, communications director for a national recruiting firm.

Consider taking additional courses or certifications that will enhance your skill set and make you more attractive to employers. You can also highlight these credentials in your application or in a cover letter.

Review your social media to make sure any information visible to hiring managers is appropriate and professional. Some companies may ask you to provide a work availability calendar on an online application; make sure you can commit to the schedule listed.

If you can, reach out to a person at the company you’re most interested in. This can be a great way to get your application noticed by someone outside of the recruitment department. Apply for jobs online

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