Some employers use online job ads to advertise their jobs, but these seldom cover all the jobs they have. Employers often have many job openings that they never publicize but which they fill through other methods. Give your best effort when writing a response to an online job ad without disclosing information that should wait for a face-to-face interview.
An online job advertisement typically attracts many applicants. Online ads may not be how a hiring manager really plans to fill an opening, however. He might have found a candidate through another recruitment method. Also, an employer might cancel a job posting due to budget cuts. You can't be sure based on what you read online, but by calling and speaking with the human resources department, you can determine if a job is still open before applying online.
Information you'd discuss in an interview doesn't belong in your response to an online job ad. Examples include your actual salary at your current and past jobs, your salary requirements, the name of your present boss and your current job status. You might also prefer to discuss in person why you left previous jobs, why you're seeking a new job and the names and contact information of professional references.
A short email or cover letter attached to an email is a way to respond to an online job ad. Search online for examples of appropriate responses to job postings in your field, usually on the websites of professional organizations in that field. A letter enables you to speak directly to a hiring manager. Reference the position name and reference number, where you saw the ad and how you meet the qualifications and personal information about yourself that's relevant to the organization. You can show more of your personality in this first-person writing style than in a one-page resume. Attach a resume, if requested in the job posting.
With the exception of salary and reference information and reasons for leaving past jobs, complete your online job response with care. Include a complete job history when required. Be specific about job duties, achievements, and qualifications and disclose any criminal background information according to an attorney's instructions.
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