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