I used to think it was pretty cool that people could sit at home and fire off resume after resume — three or four a day — through LinkedIn, Indeed, and any of the dozens of online job boards.
Three or four resumes a day? Not a bad day’s work.
But what happens to those resumes once they’re out there in cyber land?
Where do they actually go? To many job-seekers, it seems as if they’ve rocketed their resumes into outer space, never to be seen or heard from again.
They’re not wrong. It’s true – they did rocket their resumes into outer space. It’s a place called “the black hole”. The black hole is where resumes go to get vaporized.
Let’s explore the black hole.
What really happens to your resume once you hit the big APPLY button?
With the click of a mouse, your resume gets sucked into a computer program called ATS. Last time I checked, upwards of 90% of companies worldwide use an ATS to manage the resume-collecting stage of the hiring process.
ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System.
It’s a digital system that filters through thousands of resumes to find only the best matches for the position the employer advertised.
It then deposits those resumes into an “in-tray” for humans to read.
How does the ATS determine which resumes are the best matches? Well. It does that by picking the ones that meet the criteria programmed into the ATS by a human.
That criteria can be quite complex, but in most cases, it is fairly standard, such as:
- Select resumes containing enough, but not too many, of the keywords and phrases used in the employer’s job posting
- Select resumes that are no more than two pages
- Select resumes with no spelling mistakes or glaring grammatical errors
A human can program the ATS with any number of criteria, but the above three are the absolute universal minimum.
As you can see, ATSs aren’t hard to please. When you give it what it wants, there’s a good chance the ATS will direct your resume into a human’s in-tray for later reading.
So, if you don’t hear from any of the companies you’ve fired-off resumes to, it’s likely the ATS didn’t like your resume and didn’t direct it to human’s inbox.
Instead, the ATS vaporized your resume.
So no one at the companies you applied to is even aware you sent in a resume, and that’s why you never heard back from any of them.
Here’s what you have to keep in mind when you’re writing and sending out resumes.
You’re not the only one doing that.
The reason companies use ATSs is because they receive hundreds of resumes for a single position they’ve advertised. If that’s hard to wrap your head around, think of big companies and institutes like Google and AHS.
Then factor in the global labour force.
Each of those companies receives sometimes thousands of resumes from around the world for a single job posting.
So, yeah, you’re not alone in this game.
You have a ton of competition, much of it writing very well-optimized resumes that ATSs do like, and move through the process where they eventually land in front of human eyeballs.
Here’s something else to keep in mind.
Even when you think you’re sending your resume to a small, local company, there’s a very good chance your resume is getting sucked into an ATS at a recruiting agency.
Companies who don’t use their own ATS often use recruiting agencies to screen applicants, so, no matter what, your resume is subject to an ATS.
So, Why Don’t You Hear Back From Companies You Sent Your Resume To?
Because you’re at the mercy of a robot.
Off the top, I said I thought it was cool that people could sit at home and fire off resumes en masse.
But really, it’s not so cool, because once you hit that APPLY button, you’re done.
Your job-search begins and ends with a click of a mouse.
You click on the job posting, read it, write your resume for that position, click the APPLY button, then that’s it–you’re done–that’s as far as you go in the game.
You become one among hundreds or thousands, and there is seldom an opportunity for you to pick up the phone after a few days to ask if your resume was received.
Back in the day, that’s how it was done. You called up whoever you sent your resume to and said, “Hi, This is Joe Brown. I sent in my resume last Monday and just want to follow up to make sure it was received” …or some such thing.
But nowadays, who ya gonna call? A resume-vaporizing robot?
So people, if you want to hear from the companies you’re sending resumes to, you need to start writing your resumes for ATSs.
Grab this resume-writing workbook I wrote for you. I wrote the entire book based on my “write for the employer–not for you” philosophy.
It’s the only way to write your resume. Writing for the employer is writing for the ATS because, after all, it’s the employer who programs the ATS’s screening criteria.
So go ahead. Grab your free copy of HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME!
Use it to write resumes ATSs will love, and I’ll bet you’ll start hearing from the companies you send your resumes to.the
Terri is an expert resume-writer and a pretty good job coach. During her 30 years in the conventional work force, Terri was fired from 11 jobs, got laid off from 2 jobs, quit 3 jobs, sued 1 employer (successfully), made another cry, and wrote over 100 resumes for herself alone! Since embracing the good old “take this job and shove it” attitude, Terri decided to put all of her shitty “workin’ for the man” experiences and life-lessons to good use, and thus was born www.goresumepro.ca/blog. Enjoy!