Secrets of the Job Hunt


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Avoiding the Resume Blackhole

This excerpt from an article I read illustrates just how difficult it is to have your resume seen when applying on one of those online applicant tracking systems that Fortune 500 companies typically use. The results may shock you.

"Big companies receive thousands of applications and so often use a computer tracking system to sort applicants by skill. To catch the computer's eye, you need to tailor your resume to the keyword searches these systems use. ``Sending a resume to a big company's website is like sending your resume into a black hole," says John Sullivan , human resources consultant and professor of management at San Francisco State University.

Sullivan tells of a study where researchers took a job opening and wrote 100 perfect resumes for that opening. Then the researchers added 10 percent more information to the resumes. Of those resumes, only 12 percent were picked up by the tracking system as qualified. This means that even if you are the perfect candidate, if you submit your resume blindly to a large company, there is almost a 90 percent chance that no human will ever see your resume. But you can increase your chances by knowing how to use keywords in your resume.

``Recruiters locate individuals based on a certain skill set of the job they are looking to fill," says recruiting adviser Matt Millunchick .

So try to imagine how someone else would use a search box to find you, and be very specific about your skills. These rules also remain true if you post your resume to an online database . The mass of resumes on job sites is so unruly that human resource staff are paying people in India $20 an hour to sort through resumes to find the good ones, according to David Hanley, the owner of recruit'n, an online recruiting service. So, even in this case, keywords are your best friend."

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