SAGE ADVICE FOR RESUMES, INTERVIEWING, AND MORE!
- By bruce w clagg
Why No Replies When Submitting My Resume?
After more than 12 years of professional resume writing and career coaching, this may still be the #1 question I am asked by new clients!
There could be a vast number of reasons depending upon how far the resume got through ‘the system.’ Did it ever reach the hiring decision-maker (DM)?
Let’s start with the resume itself.
‘Résumé’ is a French word for ‘summary.’ SUMMARY, not the ‘course of <your> life’ which is the definition of a ‘CV’ (Latin – Curriculum Vitae) and a term used in Canada, Europe and elsewhere to incorrectly describe their resume – it’s a cultural thing. Virtually all resumes are one to three pages. A CV, of which I author a few every year, mostly for Ph.Ds and those that are international speakers, published, etc. that need to go beyond three pages AND their readers need/want that information. For the rest of us, the resume is most appropriate. (You’ll notice that Americans drop the two accents aigu above the letter ‘e.’)
I have other articles published on my website regarding the proper way to prepare a resume that will actually be noticed and read by the DM, so I’ll spare you those details here.
Now, how and where and to whom are you submitting these resumes?
I would suggest posting them on the online career sites such as Indeed, CareerBuilder, Monster, et al, but don’t expect much as there are millions of others also posted. Hey, you never know and it doesn’t take much time.
Most people will watch the sites mentioned above, and perhaps others, for job postings. Very few people actually match 100% to the “Requirements and Qualifications,” but that’s a ‘dream list’ anyway, so if you’re close and you like the job description and you’ve checked out the company, most will click “Apply Now” and slip into Alice in Wonderland’s deep hole. At the other end is Human Resources (for the most part), or third-party recruiters for the remainder.
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
Depending upon the level of the position, the HR Department receives 10,000 to 15,000+ resumes for each job posting. This is far too many to print, or to read so Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software is now used to vet each resume. It stores them in a database. It is programmed by a less-than-perfect human.
ATS was desperately needed because of the huge number of resumes received that would overwhelm an HR, or recruiting group. Early ATS software was created in the late 1990s, but not utilized heavily within business, recruiting, industry, and government until the last five to ten years when jobs ads started disappearing from newspapers and migrating to Internet sites. It’s much cheaper to place an Internet ad than a small ad in the Sunday paper!
There are numerous ATS manufacturers with differing capabilities and can be further programmed and modified by the humans that operate them. ATS IS MEANT TO SCREEN-OUT ‘UNQUALIFIED’ CANDIDATES, BUT ALSO RESUMES THAT DO NOT ‘MEASURE UP!’ What would make an ATS discard your resume before it is ever ‘scored’ and before it ever reaches human eyes to be read? A HOST OF ITEMS THAT YOU WOULD NOT IMAGINE! ATS may also ask questions in the form of an Application, so be careful of your response, or lack of one. ATS may also check social media sites for photos, words, et al. Be careful of what you “tweet!”
Some ATS will discard a resume because the margins are too thin, page borders, text boxes, columns, graphics, photos, fonts that are too small, headers/footers that it cannot open, or read (that may contain your contact information), some can read a .pdf format and some cannot (a Word ’97-2003 .doc is best as everything can open and read it, even Mac). Keywords that closely match the job, or not. The list continues. If it survives the ‘scan,’ then it is scored. More than 75% of all resumes submitted will not make it that far. No replies sent!
Those that do survive will now be with an HR Generalist, or recruiter for a human review. A few more resumes will not survive that screening. Now, being left with many more resumes and candidates than a DM will want to interview, phone calls to the candidates will be made – a telephone interview, of sorts. (Please see my article ‘The Telephone Rings’ and how to survive that!) Many more will fail that process. In the end, a DM only likes to interview five, or six candidates unless more seem to be very qualified. Generally speaking, only when you get to that point will you ever receive a reply (typically by email) that “we have found a more qualified candidate, but thank you for your interest and we will keep your resume on file for future opportunities.” Some DMs, HR and recruiting personnel are not even courteous enough to write, leaving you somewhat stranded! FOLLOW-UP ONE WEEK AFTER SUBMISSION/APPLICATION! Very few ever do.
Did that help clarify why you’re not receiving responses from online resume submissions and completed applications? It’s a whole new ballgame out there, but most play it the way their grandparents did. It worked then, but probably will not in today’s ‘high-tech’ society. Good luck!
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.