There’s nothing more frustrating in the job application process than never hearing back from an employer. These things take a ton of time — updating your resume, writing a cover letter, compiling your references, getting together a portfolio of past work examples.

It’s not like a prospective employer owes you a response for being one in maybe hundreds of people who inquired about a job, but it’d just be nice to know that all that time and effort was worth anything. The no-response is all too common in the online application process, so it’s best to find another way to break through.

For that, here are some tips that can help make the online application process easier.

Reach Out Directly

Hiring managers and recruiters grow weary of the online application process, too. Imagine it’s your job to go through hundreds of resumes, digging for worthy candidates. For that reason, if you think a particular job is good fit for you, it’s probably worth reaching out directly.

This can be done a number of ways. Instead of applying through a job listing platform, apply directly to the company website if applicable. You can find a hiring manager on Linkedin or search the site for a direct email. You can even go as far as to mail your resume and cover letter to their office.

A lot of companies ask that you stick to the standardized application process, but if that caveat is not there, direct contact is definitely worth a try. The personal touch may strike an interest with the hiring manager.

Narrow Your Search

A lot of people think that large aggregator sites like Monster, Linkedin, Indeed, and others are the only avenues to finding jobs online. This is simply not true.

Many sites gear their postings to a specific audience. For example, if you want to find a job in Buffalo, New York, there are specific sites that list only jobs in Buffalo. In most places, especially cities, these services are available.

These employers are looking for applicants only in certain areas, and they’re not the only ones. Some sites dig even deeper cater to certain industries like the arts or education in specific places. It only requires a few extra minutes of research to find them.

Use Social Media

This method may not be for everyone, but if you’re active on social media, it’s definitely worth a shot. Try reaching out to people you’re connected with in your industry, whether that be through Facebook, Linkedin, or another platform.

You can make a post letting people know you’re looking or message people you know to see if there are openings available within their companies. An employee referral carries more weight than a resume or well-written cover letter.

According to a recent study 34 percent of recruiters consider referrals their best source for new hires. Maybe by reaching out, you can bypass the online application process completely.

Do Something Unique

The reality is that most people apply for jobs using online platforms.

That means you’re stranger to the company competing with hundreds of other strangers to the company for maybe one or a couple jobs. You have to find a way to stand out.

Just getting noticed is hard enough, but there are a few ways to do it. If you’re doing a resume, cover letter, or email, it’s important to write in a human voice, your voice. Avoid business jargon at all costs, because everyone else is already using it.

A non-traditional opening may get you noticed. If you have the resume to back it up, that might be enough. Maybe start your email with a past work story that can show off some of your skills. Adding humor and personality is a good idea, as long as it remains professional.

Don’t be afraid of the word “I”. This is about you after all. All of these things make you stand out in a sea of standardized, lifeless words. Your personality should show, at least a little.

Be Persistent

The person who applies to the job first will probably actually get consideration. If you see a job post is fresh, apply right away. The sooner you get your resume in, the lower the volume of applicants will be to compare it against.

You may get lucky and schedule an interview before a deluge of other candidates comes rolling in.

You should also be following up your application to check the status. A lot of places have this information in an automated system, but it may be worth it find someone at the company to contact. Again, don’t do this if the posting explicitly says not to.

Don’t Get intimidated

Finding a job is hard, and it takes time. Always remember that, and use it to motivate you. If you’re not intimidated by the challenge of finding a job, you’re more likely to stay on task.