How To Get Your Resume Past Recruiting Robots
In the current job market, finding a job can be incredibly challenging. High unemployment rates have created intense competition in all industries. Today’s job market is fiercely competitive, and the factors that used to provide an advantage may no longer set you apart.
The percentage of Americans holding university degrees is at an all-time high, currently at 40.4% and projected to reach 60% by 2025. Regardless of your education, qualifications, or motivation, you’re competing with many individuals just like you. What’s particularly frustrating is that automated systems may determine your job prospects.
If you consult HR professionals or hiring managers, they’ll mention sifting through up to 200 applications for a single job opening. Many applicants share similar qualifications, exacerbating the situation. That is, of course, if your resume even reaches a human’s eyes.
Numerous employers, especially midsize and larger companies, employ software to filter out unqualified candidates. This eases the burden on HR personnel overwhelmed by a deluge of resumes. However, for job seekers, this presents a challenge. If you’re applying to a sizable company, your carefully tailored resume might never be reviewed.
Whether it’s software screening your application or failing to capture an overworked HR professional’s attention, the following tips can boost your chances of having your resume read by a human.
Optimize Your Resume with the Right Keywords
Larger corporations predominantly employ software applications for initial resume screening. These programs aim to sift through unsuitable candidates, yet they possess inherent limitations as non-human entities. In general, these software systems seek specific keywords signifying an ideal candidate.
Most individuals craft resumes with humans in mind. Nonetheless, given today’s competitive job market, consideration for these digital gatekeepers is vital. Screening software becomes your first hurdle, necessitating strategic keyword placement.
Begin your keyword search within the job description. Identify recurring words, particularly those consistent across similar job listings. Job titles carry significant weight as primary keywords, aligning your past experience with the desired role.
For instance, if pursuing a “Marketing Director” position mirroring your previous job, ensure “Marketing Director” appears in your resume, rather than labeling your previous role as a “Secretary” when applying for an “Administrative Assistant” position.
Integrating synonyms or industry acronyms, such as “PR” alongside “Public Relations,” can provide a subtle advantage. Strategically embedding keywords enhances your chances.
Sending a Resume Directly? Get in Early
Not all companies use software to screen resumes for keywords. If you’re applying to a smaller business, you may be able to send your resume directly in an email attachment. Unfortunately, their hiring managers are often inundated with countless resumes, especially in populous areas. This is common when a small business creates a listing on a platform like Craigslist, especially for high-competition positions like Administrative Assistant.
It pays to focus on job listings that were posted as recently as possible– ideally, within the last 48 hours. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t apply if your dream job was listed a week ago. But as time passes, your chances of having your resume seen will greatly diminish. Even in the absence of screening software, busy managers don’t have time to read through each and every resume when there are over 200 applications in their inbox. If you’re doing it right, you’re tailoring your resume and creating a thoughtful cover letter for each job application.
Don't Give Up
Competition levels in today’s job market is unprecedented. In fact, government statistics show that quite a few unemployed people have simply given up on trying to find a job. Between unthinking algorithms that weed you out, and hundreds of competitors for a single job position, it’s tough out there. Keep tweaking your resume and experimenting with keywords. Send out as many resumes as you can. By optimizing your resume and applying to jobs as soon as possible, you can maximize the odds of a human being actually looking at your application.
For more insights and perspectives on managing the workplace, discover TemPositions’ blog.