6 Tips For Avoiding The Resume Black Hole

Many job seekers spend countless hours writing,
polishing and blasting their résumés to dozens of
companies. Then they wait, and wait, and never
hear a thing.
That’s because human resources people and hiring
managers receive heaps of résumés for any given
job opening, and they end up missing, skipping or
tossing a lot of them. However, it turns out there
are things you can do to help ensure your résumé is
Career experts and a spokesperson for
Glassdoor.com, a jobs and career community where
people share information and opinions about their
workplaces, weigh in.
“I think résumés end up in the résumé black hole if
the person just responds to a posting or ad and
does nothing else,” says Anita Attridge, a Five
O’Clock Club career and executive coach. “Today
companies are receiving hundreds of résumés for
each position and, due to the volume, are not
acknowledging receipt of them. Most large and
medium-size companies are using applicant
tracking systems to screen résumés before a
person looks at them. Smaller organizations many
just review the ones they receive until they find
enough qualified candidates and then set the other
résumés aside.”

Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human
resources at the jobs site CareerBuilder.com, says
she suggests that candidates use the job posting to
their advantage. “Use some of the same words and
phrases that appear in the job posting in your
résumé,” she says. “The computer will then
recognize them and move your résumé toward the
top of the pile because you will be a match. But
don’t just cut and paste the job posting into your
résumé or cover letter. If the computer doesn’t
catch it, the hiring manager definitely will, and it
could hurt your chances of moving forward with an
Ruth Robbins, a certified career counselor with the
Five O’Clock Club, agrees that using buzz words and
key phrases that demonstrate you are a perfect fit
for the job will help you get on the employer’s radar
—but even with a perfectly tailored résumé, there is
no way to know if or when it will be reviewed by
the hiring manager.
“The best way to make sure your résumé is seen is
by networking into the company,” Attridge says.
“Let your networking contact know that you have
applied for a position, and ask that person if he or
she would send your résumé to the H.R. department
with an endorsement of you as a
candidate. Another way is to try to determine who
the hiring manager is and send a résumé directly to
that person, with a letter asking for an
informational interview.”
Robbins agrees. “H.R. managers are often
avalanched with résumés, so if you can find
someone who works at the company who would be
willing to hand in your résumé directly to a hiring
manager or interested influencer in the selection
process, your chances of landing in the black hole
[will shrink significantly],” she says.
Mary Elizabeth Bradford, an executive résumé
writer and author of the bestselling eBook series
The Career Artisan, offers some alternative advice.
“From what I have seen, what works best in any
market is for the job seeker to take a pure,
entrepreneurial approach to their job search
process,” she says. “I think it would be futile to call
H.R. and leave repeated voice messages. A better
way is to contact a key decision maker through
hard mail and follow up with a phone call. Go
around H.R. That’s provocative, right? Well, it
Samantha Zupan, a spokesperson for Glassdoor,
agrees that it’s smart to look for more than one
way to apply. “In addition to sending your résumé
through a company’s online job portal, also take
the time to do some research and try to identify
who the hiring manager may be. If you send a
personalized note to the likely hiring manager, a
good e-mail may get your resume pulled out of the
Zupan offers some additional advice:
Have someone proofread your résumé.
Sometimes it can be something as small as a typo
that may turn off an employer and land you in the
black hole, she says. “Before sending your résumé,
have at least one person you trust review it so that
it can have a better chance of catching the eyes of
the employer.”
Keep it simple. Avoid graphics and logos and
other things that may “clog” how an applicant
tracking system reads your résumé, Zupan
Research the company’s hiring process.
“Companies like Google and Facebook include
specific insights into their interview process,”
Zupan says. “For example, on the Google careers
page, they let you know that one of their recruiters
is the first to review your résumé and that they look
first at your qualifications and experience.”
Thorough research can help you properly prepare to
avoid the résumé black hole.



14 thoughts on “6 Tips For Avoiding The Resume Black Hole

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