When job seekers apply online, they assume the purpose of their resume is to generate interest from a potential employer. While this is true, the first pass of your resume is done with the sheer intent of weeding you out. Period. Recruiters want a manageable (less than 10) stack of qualified applicants to screen and pass along to the next step.
Employers continue to get hundreds of responses to job ads, as well as numerous unsolicited applicants. The chance of your resume being seen by a human when you apply online is less than 10%.
So how can you up your odds when applying online? Here are some strategies that may help.
1) Write for the machine. Most employers use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) as a first pass. To get past the computer, your resume must be written with key word optimization in mind. Research the company, use lingo from the job description, and ensure your skills are a near-perfect match for the job.
2) Apply through the company website. If you stumble across a great opportunity on Monster.com, go to the Hiring Company’s website and apply there. The format differs and Recruiters can tell where your resume originated. You may earn a few points for showing direct interest in the company.
3) Apply the day the job posts. Some companies stop looking at resumes after they reach their cut-off number. After all, if 300 resumes are submitted on Day 1, the likelihood of finding a candidate in that pool are pretty good. And with so many people online, 300 resumes in one day is not unlikely.
4) Don’t waste time applying online for jobs that are a stretch. Even if the company does not use an ATS, your resume will have about 10 seconds to make a compelling case. Hiring Managers won’t be taking time to ponder if your Sales experience could translate into a Financial Analyst role. They will be looking for a Financial Analyst.
5) Have a professional write your resume. Heat Map Testing has identified exactly where Recruiters spend the most time when reviewing your resume. A Career Coach can help make the most of your 10 seconds by crafting an accomplishment-based resume that stands out from the pile. Your resume is not a place to be humble. You can be sure that the resume after yours isn’t.
All this said, my best advice is still to network and limit the time you spend online to research and social media. You can overcome all of the obstacles above by using Linked In and your connections to bypass the online hurdles, and I would challenge you to find a company that you can’t network into. It may not be easy, but there is usually a way.