The two sides of the resume black hole

January 26th, 2012 No comments

Here at StartWire, we talk a lot about the dreaded resume black hole. It is our mission as a company to help job seekers get feedback by providing automatic application updates. We think that by gaining insight into information such as when a job is no longer posted (and resumes are under review), job seekers can have a more efficient job search. The truth is, both job seekers and employers struggle with this growing issue.

Job applicants, faced with the black hole, counteract the lower odds of eliciting a response from hiring employers by increasing the amount of applications they send out.  The mentality is—throw out a fishing hook and pray one gets caught.  Chances are, the more hooks you throw out, the more likely you’ll get a catch.  Furthermore, the switch to online applications has made applying more efficient, as jobs are consolidated into one search engine.

This leads to companies receiving an unmanageable amount of applicants to sort through. They have a hard time providing feedback, and the job application process becomes a vicious cycle.   

So how can understanding this help applicants improve their job search?

It helps to understand what companies are really doing with these applications.   

Lauren Weber in “Your Resume vs. Oblivion” shows that companies “cut through the clutter” by using “applicant-tracking systems to search resumes for the right skills and experience”.   These “tracking systems are programmed to scan for keywords, former employers, years of experience and schools attended to identify candidates of likely interest. Then, they rank the applicants. Those with low scores generally don’t make it to the next round”.

However, this tracking software can be flawed and may miss out on the most-qualified applicants if their resume lacks keywords from the job description. The best method to having your resume read is: get a referral from a company employee.

To summarize—what can job seekers do to avoid these pitfalls?

  1) Use keywords in your resume from the job description

  2) Get a referral from a company employee

Want to learn more? Find out how StartWire can improve your job application process at!

To find a thorough exploration of these ideas, read Lauren Weber’s Your Résumé vs. Oblivion.

Categories: Resume Tips Tags: ,

Is anyone on the other end of your job app?

January 10th, 2012 No comments

Ever applied for a job and never even gotten a response to confirm that your application wasreceived?

Chances are good the answer is yes. Dust off your Twisted Sister tapes and cds, “we’re not going to take it” is emerging as the new theme song for job seekers. In a recent survey of over 2,300 members of the StartWire community, 69% of respondents said they would probably not – or simply wouldn’t – buy a product or service from a company that didn’t respond to their job application. 77% said they’d think less of a company if the company doesn’t respond to their job application, and a whopping 96% responded that they are more likely to apply for a job if they know they will be getting regular feedback.

Couple that with the recent dip in unemployment rates, an increase in consumer use of social media to share opinions on corporate behavior, and a growing trend of individuals buying their own health insurance and starting their own businesses – and you’ve got a recipe for a perfect storm for a candidate revolt. Just as the Occupy Wall Street movement has a mission of fighting back “against the richest 1% of people that are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future,” we see a wave of job seekers who’ve had enough. As Alison Green, a career columnist for U.S. News said last summer,

As the job market continues to favor employers, job seekers are increasingly reporting poor treatment—from employers who never show up for scheduled interviews to inappropriate demands for private information on online job applications.

Employers may feel they don’t have to pay much attention to the candidate experience in such a flooded market. But this is shortsighted, because the best candidates have options and will turn elsewhere. It’s also unkind to people who are in a vulnerable and anxiety-producing spot.

It’s time for a job seeker’s bill of rights, to improve the hiring process on both sides!

At StartWire, we’re raising our hands in support of job seekers and candidates in two ways today.

First, we’re celebrating our first birthday – and saluting the thousands of job seekers who’ve joined us and used our site to sign up for automatic status updates on the state of their job application. (A first step in finding out what’s actually happened to job applications after they’ve been submitted.)

Secondly, we’re looking across the village green from our headquarters in a small New England town to toast the New Hampshire primary – and to watch democracy in action. No matter how you move the lever in January or February, we think it’s always important to have your voice be heard.

We’re committed to helping you have a better candidate experience as a job seeker. In the weeks ahead, we’ll continue to share tips and strategies to make that happen – and to advocate for your rights. Let’s work together to make the process of applying for a job clear, transparent, and timely.

How can we help you make the process of looking for a job more fun?

Photo courtesy of Vector Portal.

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