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Online applications

Online applications

Today, many employers expect job seekers to apply for jobs online.

You may need to apply on the employer's website or on an online job board, like or CareerBuilder. Do not e-mail your resume to an employer unless the job ad asks for this. To apply online, you will need access to the Internet and an e-mail account.

If you don't have a computer

Free Internet access is available at public libraries and American Job Centers. Make sure you have a USB drive (sometimes called a flash drive or thumbnail drive). This will allow you to bring or save your resume information when working on a public computer. These drives are small and inexpensive. You can purchase one at many retail stores.

If you need an e-mail address, many sites offer free accounts. Visit for a list of free web-based e-mail. Popular free services include Gmail from Google and YahooMail. Use a simple e-mail address with your name or initials. Do not use e-mails like This type of e-mail address is not considered professional.

If you want easy access to your resume, Google Docs has an online word processor. You can save your files there online and export them as PDF files when applying for jobs.

How to complete an online application

Before you can apply online, you first need to register with the job website. This simply means that you need to create an account. To do this, you will need to choose a login name and a password. Many websites will use your e-mail address as your login. You will have to register separately for each job website.

Once you have an account, use the requested way to enter your resume onto the application. (Make sure your resume follows the guidelines for applicant tracking systems.) Here are the three most common ways to add your information:

  • Attach a file of your resume. Many applications allow you to browse for a file on your computer or USB drive. They often ask for a PDF, text, or Microsoft Word file. Select your file, and click "ok" or "insert." It's just like attaching a file to an e-mail message. Online applications often indicate if the file has been successfully uploaded.
  • Copy and paste your entire resume into the online application. Open your resume file. Highlight all of the text using the mouse. Select "Copy" from the menu or by right clicking. Go to the online application to insert your resume. Select "Paste" from the menu or by right clicking. Make sure you check the formatting of your resume. You can add your resume to an e-mail message using the same method.
  • Enter your work history manually one field at a time. Some online applications have different fields for different information. For example, you enter a past employer's name in one field, your dates of employment in another, and your duties in yet another. This type of application can be very time-consuming to complete. To save time and reduce errors, cut and paste text from your resume using the method above.

If you’re having trouble completing the application, look for a "Help" button or link.