Greg Wood | ,| By
How many times have you submitted your resume for what seems to be the perfect job? Your skills, experience, and expertise scream that you’re a great match for the position. Your excitement builds in anticipation of that phone call inviting you in for an interview. You realize that you did all the right things, following the expert’s tips for avoiding the resume “black hole” when applying for the job online. Here are a few of those tips that may sound familiar:
“Choose the right resume format…”
“Tailor your resume objective…”
“Use keywords on your resume that match the skills listed in the job description…”
“Customize your cover letter to state why you are a great match for the position…”
“Follow the employer instructions for submitting your resume…”
And yet the phone doesn’t ring. Regardless of your efforts, your resume ended up in the black hole of Human Resources where it was perhaps scanned by a software program and then dumped into a massive database with hundreds, if not thousands, of other resumes. With the sheer volume of resumes that companies receive on a daily basis, the odds that your resume was viewed by any human in Human Resources (let alone the hiring manager), are slim to none. That’s why I refer to HR as “Hiring Resistance” because the whole process starts with rejection.
If you are lucky to get past the screening software, your resume provides HR personnel with numerous reasons to screen you OUT, not in. These could include the ethnicity of your name, where you live, your industry, your title, your present or former employers, gaps in employment, lack of the right keywords and phrases, your education (or lack of education), your affiliations, etc., etc.
Keep in mind that HR personnel, for the most part, don’t have a clue about the true nature of the work to be done. They’re concentrating on the perfect match between keywords in the job description and those found on someone’s resume. The hiring manager is the one person in the organization that has a true understanding of the job to be done and the right candidate to do the job.
Remember, while it is a critical component of your job search toolbox, your professional resume is nothing more than a track record of employment; stuff you’ve done for other employers in the past. Companies don’t hire you for your past, they hire your for their future.
Break away from the traditional approach to job search which is broken and ineffective. Spend perhaps 20% or so of your time chasing posted jobs on the Internet if you must, but recognize that HR is your biggest obstacle to finding you next job. Spend the remaining 80% or so of your time building a professional network by targeting hiring managers in companies of interest. Instead of sending a resume to these hiring managers, use your biography to educate them about who you are, the value you bring to the table, and how you can help them moving forward.
How well are you able to avoid the HR black hole?