This article originally appeared on last December 3, 2013.

Job listings have changed since the days of newspaper classified ads. It’s never been easier to find situations vacant or to apply for them at the press of a button.

But it can be easy to get carried away and apply for hundreds of jobs without tailoring your applications or being as effective as you need to be.

In the new frontier of job hunting how do you find the right position and stand out to increase your chances of getting an interview and ultimately landing the job you want?

“With technology it’s much easier. The biggest difference is the speed in which we can communicate,” says Dennis Masel, chief operating officer at Creative Circle, a US staffing agency.

Mr Masel, who started his career in the staffing business in 1999, says PDF files, mobile devices and fast internet have transformed the way he works.

New platforms, new opportunities

“I used to personally lug the old portfolios to a client’s office and I would drop them off there at the reception desk with 40 other portfolios and pray that my candidates would get noticed,” he says.

“Now I can send a graphic designer, a writer, somebody’s portfolio to a client within seconds.”

Some companies have developed their own mobile apps and web-based career resources to simplify the process.

Jobseekers can post their resume or CV online and apply for posts with a single mouse click. And it is not only computers but also mobile.

“One third of our traffic today comes from mobile,” says Subha Shetty, director of product marketing at Simply Hired, a job listing site based in Sunnyvale, California.

It is one of hundreds of job sites that operate around the world.

Three steps to success

A frequently heard complaint about online job sites is that some employers do not acknowledge or follow up on the applications they receive.

It results in candidates becoming disillusioned and less inclined to click on new jobs.

So how do you stay focused and stand out? Lance Savitsky, of Simply Hired, says three steps can help.

First he advises candidates to reach out to online networking connections at the company where you want to work.

“It’ll help you tremendously. By making a personal connection you could essentially bubble up your application so that it stands out and gets noticed by people.”

Second, he says, you must react quickly when you see a job you want.

“Every position that you are interested in, you have to imagine that the teaming hoards of zombies, they’re all coming after that same position. You’ve got to be quick, you’ve got to be looking for the jobs on the go, you’ve got to essentially use every tactic that you can in that toolkit. Sometimes positions are filled within the span of hours.”

Third, use email alerts on job listing sites and filter to get only the ones you want.

“I absolutely love email alerts because I can get exactly the jobs that interest me coming directly to my inbox every day, all the new jobs, and it’s really easy for me to basically discover what positions I might be interested in,” he says.

“Put keywords in, how broad of a location you want to search and your experience and get exactly what you want. You want to maximise the value of the time you are putting into your job search.”