SAGE ADVICE FOR RESUMES, INTERVIEWING, AND MORE!
- By bruce w clagg
Clicking “Apply” Is Not As Easy As You May Believe!
It may be hard to believe that virtually no one used the Internet 20, or so years ago. There was no email, smartphones, laptops, tablets, and hardly a company website, and few owned, or used a PC. Employers posted open positions in the local newspaper and applicants would respond through the U.S. Mail. For me, that time doesn’t seem long ago, but my, how things have changed!
Today, everyone has, at least one, flat screen TV, a smartphone, a PC/laptop/tablet and an Internet connection with Wi-Fi capability.
We can do SO much today. So can employers!
When I ran a 1/8-page ad in the Sunday newspaper years ago it cost $1,200 and I would generally receive about 40-50 resumes. Today, I can place an ad with any of the online “career sites” for around $250 and, depending upon the level of the position, receive 10,000 – 15,000 resumes – maybe more! No one can print, or read that many, so what does the company do? Technology! Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software.
There are various systems out there. Some do things that others do not, but they all “score” each resume from 0 – 100. How, you might ask? The system is matching keywords (or the lack thereof), and a host of other items.
“So, the system is trying to decipher my resume?” Yes! “How would I know if my resume even successfully completed the scan, or analysis?” You wouldn’t, which is one reason why so many online applicants never hear a word in response to their application. “Is it my resume, or is it me? Good question. It could be both, but the way the resume was written (with headers/footers / text boxes / scripted fonts / photos / images / colors / columns / certain bullets, and much more) could make it difficult, or impossible for a successful ATS scan and IF your resume didn’t get kicked-out, you could end out with a very low score (which has nothing to do with your ability to become a superstar in the new position) so both parties could lose, in my humble opinion.
“Okay, so every time I submit an online application, it hits an ATS before any human eyes ever see it?” Yes; well not all companies have installed ATS…yet! A rather risky proposition, so can your resume score well? You can utilize Jobscan and other sites to test, but since ATSs differ a bit from one to another, nothing is absolutely full-proof. Some can read a .pdf format and some cannot. Some can read a Word .docx, or .docm, but not all. To my knowledge, a Word 97-2003 .DOC will survive them all! Any comments to the contrary would be welcomed!
Please take note that when one is “reactive” by clicking “Apply” and awaiting a call, or an email there is little more that you can do. Why not become “PROACTIVE” if landing a new position is THAT important to you and your family? The average job-seeker won’t do that! It takes some work, but to quote one of my clients, “My full time job now is to find a full-time career, so I’ll put as much time into THAT as I did when I was getting paid!”
Even if you re-formatted your resume to survive the ATS (and it wouldn’t be pretty) and gamble with how it scores, you are now with a Human Resources Generalist (in most cases), or a recruiter (in a few cases). Nice, professionals all, but THEY CANNOT HIRE YOU! They will vet your resume after the ATS scoring, call to eliminate you (since the hiring decision-maker <DM> only wants to interview five, or six people), and pass along the survivors. WHY NOT GO TO THE DM IN THE FIRST PLACE? The 80/20 Rule (80% of the productivity comes from 20% of the people – on average) suggests that the DM has some people that he/she would replace in a heartbeat, but they have no ads running and nothing submitted to HR.
Knowing the possible job title(s) of your future boss is not that difficult. Using resources in LinkedIn is a great way to identify these people. A well-crafted cover letter/email with a great resume attached may spark the DM’s interest and see that you might be a great addition, or replacement for someone! THAT is why about 85% of possible positions are NEVER posted, but most people sit around awaiting a posting from some website when the “goldmine” is only a step, or two away. ALSO…no ATS if sent directly to a DM!! They skim it for 3-7 seconds and if they quickly recognize your market brand, portable skills, and achievements that would be welcomed, they will probably read it, hopefully followed by a phone call for the interview and not a screening through HR, or a recruiter.
There are more “tricks to the trade” that couldn’t fit in this venue, but I hope that you have a better understanding of today’s technology becoming another hurdle to jump in your career search campaign and going directly to the DM with well-crafted covers and resumes CAN land you that career position! You cannot change the job market, but you CAN change your approach and be successful by becoming proactive! Let’s go! Your thoughts?
Hello! I'm Bruce Clagg,
Advanced Career Solutions
Advanced Career Solutions (ACS) is a professional resume writing services firm also providing unique, job interview training, LinkedIn Profile rebuilding, career counseling & coaching from the ONLY multi-certified professional* in Pennsylvania.
- Bruce Clagg, Rapid Employment & Career Management Coach
*The four Certifications are noted within.