5 Tricks to Avoid the Dreaded Resume Black Hole
Does this situation sound all too familiar?
You spend hours and hours applying for countless jobs online — a tedious and exhaustive process — and then you wait and wait… but get no response.
For many job seekers today this is an all-too-common reality. So common, in fact, that this phenomenon has been dubbed the resume black hole. Just as nothing — not even light — can escape a black hole, resumes — not even resumes of well-qualified candidates — can escape the dread resume black hole.
The best solution then is to avoid the black hole altogether. Here are some tips:
1. Limit the time you spend applying to jobs online: This is the least effective way to find a job. Often these “openings” aren’t even real openings. More often than you might want to believe, employers might simply be stockpiling resumes in case they decide to actually open and try to fill a position. They might be posting jobs to intimidate competitors or demonstrate to potential investors that they’re in growth mode when that might not be true. They might have already filled the job but not taken down the ad. Plus, there’s a real shot that even when the job posted is a real job, the employer might already have someone lined up to fill it, and is only going through the motions of posting the position to comply with internal and/or EEOC requirements.
2. Load the resume with keywords: Nearly all major corporations today use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to sort through resumes and most job boards have agreements with ATS software providers as well. These systems allow employers to search for keywords in an attempt to only pull up the resumes of qualified candidates, but guess what? If your resume doesn’t contain enough of those keywords, it won’t get pulled up and nobody will ever see it — even if the reality is that you are well qualified for the role. To keep your resume out of the black hole, you must identify what keywords a prospective employer is likely to be looking for and then integrate those words into your resume. A free service like keywordfinder.org can help you, but you can probably figure out the keywords on your own (and perhaps even more capably) by scanning several job postings for the specific type of position you’re interested in securing and then highlighting the words that keep cropping up.
3. Secure an ally in the organization where you want to work: Most people today still get their next position as a result of being recommended by someone within the company. The number one way to avoid the dreaded resume black hole is definitely to find someone in the targeted company to vouch for you and bring your resume directly to the hiring manager.
4. Make sure your resume is up to par: Ask yourself these questions: Is my resume in a modern and effective format? Does my resume strategy showcase my qualifications and overcome any potential weaknesses? Is it free of any errors? Is it visually appealing, easy to read, and an appropriate length? Does it have a powerful profile or opening section that gets the reader excited about my value? Does it demonstrate quantifiable achievements and accomplishments that prove how I’ve added value in my previous positions? If the answer to any of these questions is no, you might consider hiring a professional resume writer. Charlotte, Kim, and I are all available, but if you want additional options, consider looking for an NCRW-certified resume writer by visiting TheNRWA.com.
5. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up: The old saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease,” is true. Only rarely does it happen that the people who get the interview or get the job really, truly the most qualified individuals. More often than not, these people are simply the most well liked, the most trusted, and the most top of mind. Always follow up with people. It’s a great way of building trust, establishing yourself as a likable person, and staying on a prospective hiring manager’s radar screen. You can call them, send them an email, or better yet, send them a real letter via snail-mail. If you go the snail-mail route, please make sure you include your resume and cover letter printed on high-quality resume paper. (I like and recommend Southworth’s 100% cotton resume paper, watermarked 32-pound paper.)
Resume black holes do exist, but now you know how to avoid them. Go get ‘em!
In support of your Abundant Success,
The Abundant Success Coach
Robyn is a Nationally Certified Professional Resume Writer and Certified Career Management Coach. Since 1991, she’s been writing interview-winning resumes and providing cutting-edge job search and career management advice. She has earned credentials as both a Certified Career Management Coach and a Nationally Certified Resume Writer. With 20+years of proven industry experience and thousands of satisfied clients who have gotten outstanding results from using her professional resume writing and career coaching service.
• Television careers expert for ABC’s Good Morning Texas, airing on WFAA
• Recipient of Career Mastery Award, awarded by Career Management Alliance (formerly Career Masters Institute)
• Official Ambassador, Women for Hire