TAO Self-help

Title:Climb Out of the Resume Black Hole in 3 Steps

Author:© Copyright, 2019 Susan P. Joyce

Date:January 2019


This is the major complaint of job seekers today. They submit their resume and it seems to drop down a black hole. Nothing happens after the submission. No response from the employer, and, certainly, no job interview or job offer.

Reasons Your Resume Doesn't Receive a Response

There are many reasons you receive no response to your resume or job application submission, including over-worked Human Resources people who don't have the time or technology to easily respond to the flood of job seekers interested in every job, basic bad manners, and employer fear of lawsuits.

You cannot control those aspects of the black hole, but there are several aspects you can control.

How to Climb Out of That Black Hole

Avoid the black hole by following these three steps:

  1. Be very picky about the jobs you apply for.

    In an era when the average job seeker spends just over one minute reading a job description before applying for the job, many employers are out of patience with job seekers. The reason is because typically fewer than 10% of the resumes or applications are from people who are actually qualified for the job.

    Your time is valuable! Before you waste it applying for the wrong job, ask yourself these questions:

    • Do I want this job?
    • Do I meet at least 75% of the requirements for the job?
    • Do I want to work for this employer?

    Applying for jobs you aren't qualified for may result in ruining your reputation with an employer, teaching them to ignore your applications, even when you are qualified.

    Worse, landing a job you hate and/or working for an employer who is going out of business soon means you'll be back job hunting too soon. Save yourself from that outcome!

  2. 2. Customize your resume or application for each opportunity.

    If you are submitting the same version of your resume for every opportunity, chances are good that your resume doesn't contain exactly the right words — the keywords used in the description. If you aren't customizing your resume and application for each opportunity, the applicant tracking system ("ATS") may be blocking it, or it may simply not be found when a recruiter searches for qualified resumes.

    If the job description wants someone with "social media skills" and your resume doesn't include the exact phrase "social media skills," it won't be included in a search, even if your resume describes you as "skilled with Facebook and Twitter."

    Use the WorkCoachCafe resume customization "cheat sheet" to overcome this problem.

  3. 3. Pay attention to your online reputation.

    You are being watched and judged! With 80% of employers researching job applicants before inviting them in for a job interview, you need to manage what they find about you. Google yourself to see what is out there associated with your name.

    HINT: what's out there hurting your job search may be about someone else who has the same name you do. If that person has done something that an employer would not like (bank robbery?), your application will be ignored unless employers know you are not that person.

    The best way to do manage your online reputation is with a LinkedIn Profile which uses the same name you have on your resumes and job application. If you are "Mary J. Smith" on your resume, you should be "Mary J. Smith" on your LinkedIn Profile, and vice versa. Employers will compare the LinkedIn Profile and the resume, looking for inconsistencies as well as confirming that you have done what your resume says you have done.


More About the Resume Black Hole:

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff "graduate" who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased WorkCoachCafe.com, and Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoach since then. Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org, is a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a columnist on HuffingtonPost. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.

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