April Fools! How to Avoid the Joke of the Jobsite Black Hole

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You just hit gold! You’re actively searching a jobsite, and you find a job that is an exact fit for your qualifications. You take the time to customize your resume with all the right keywords, apply online and hit submit. Instantly, you receive an email reply from the company, “Thank you so much for applying. You are a perfect fit for this role, and we will call you in 30 minutes to schedule an interview.”
April Fools!

april-fools-dayCan we agree that this NEVER happens? We often hear from job seekers that once you hit submit, you either a) get an auto-generated decline letter or b) don’t ever hear a single word from the company—whether good, bad or ugly.

Your resume has officially fallen into the Black Hole, never to be heard from or seen again!

Follow these 4 simple rules to ensure you won’t be fooled this year by the jobsite black hole.

  1. Apply Only for the Jobs for Which You Are Qualified and Want. Don’t waste your time and energy—nor that of the recruiter—and submit your resume for every job a company has posted. Realistically, you know you are not a fit and are really not fooling anybody when you submit your resume for a job in which you are not qualified.
  2. Customize the Resume. If you are applying for a role you want and are uniquely qualified to do, tailoring your resume shouldn’t be a concern. Companies today are more than likely using an Applicant Tracking System. This fabulous technology has decreased the workload of the recruiter and created efficiencies. Yet, with all great technology, occasionally it fails and fabulous candidates fall victim to the technology. Ensure that your resume has the keywords that are utilized in the job description. Use a Word Cloud Generator to determine which words are used most often. For example, if the job description is littered with the title, ‘Business Development’ and these words are not used at all or not very often within your resume, your resume is guaranteed to be declined.
  3. Network, Network, Network. The best way to get overcome the Applicant Tracking System is to put a face to a piece of paper. Make it “real” for the person evaluating resumes. Network your way into the company and ask your contact if they would feel comfortable walking your resume down to the recruiter or hiring manger and handing it to them personally. Better yet, have them write you a personal recommendation and referral into the company. At the end of the day it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
  4. Don’t Roll Over Dead. Let’s say you are lucky enough to receive the decline letter in your inbox seconds after you have applied online. You have two choices here:  a) You could roll over and admit defeat to the system. Or b), you could see this as a challenge and move past the technology. If you really believe that you are the perfect fit for the company and the role, and you have all the qualifications, then push past!! Do the hard work to network into the company using LinkedIn and other networking techniques and discover how to get your resume to the top of the pile. Chances are you were declined from the system, not by a real person. Demonstrate that you have the persistence and tenacity and deserve a second look.

What is your experience with the black hole? What techniques have you used to surpass the system?

Shawna Simcik, M.S., CMP, Managing Partner, OI Partners Denver

Working in partnership with clients, Shawna designs custom career transition and leadership development for individuals, teams and corporations to address and attain sustainable, business results. Shawna is an active member and Board Director with the Colorado Human Resources Association and a 2011 and 2012 “40 Under 40” Nominee. Shawna holds a BA in psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver and a Master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is certified as a Career Management Practitioner through the Institute of Career Certification International. She can be contacted at ssimcik@oipartners.net.

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