New Report: How To Get Your Resume Past Automatic Tracking Systems

Remember the resume black hole I wrote about a few months ago?

It’s one of the main reasons that the online job search has proved so frustrating for millions of unemployed people. When they send off their resumes for positions posted online, those resumes are often not read by human eyes.

Instead, they fall into the claws of a robot. Also known as the “resume black hole,” this system prevents many resumes submitted online from ever seeing the light of day in a hiring manager’s office. Large companies employ these automated resume screening systems to cut the labor costs of manually reviewing the thousands (and many more depending on the size of the company) of resumes submitted for each position.

What does this mean for jobseekers? The Talent Board, a nonprofit seeking to improve the job-application process, recently conducted a survey of the job search experience. Here’s what they found, quoted from AOL Jobs:

– One out of 3 companies don’t respond to unqualified job hunters as their standard practice.

– Only 1 in 10 employers say they respond to every candidate.

– Most companies (59 percent) don’t require recruiters to respond to applications, beyond a computer-generated receipt of application.

-A large percentage of candidates (between 30 to 40 percent) don’t receive any status update on their application, perpetuating perceptions of an application “black hole.”

-Most job hunters felt frustrated by the process. “I had to follow up numerous times before anyone even called back,” one said. “And when I finally did get someone, no one would explain to me if I was accepted for the position.”

How can you steer your resume clear of the black hole? These tips from CareerBuilder can help you:

1. Don’t apply to jobs for which you aren’t qualified and don’t send resumes to the same recruiter repeatedly. Recruiters know who they’re looking for and if you’re a good fit for an open job, they will respond — usually right away.

2. Customize your resume. Move any relevant experience to the top of each section of your resume for each position you are applying to. Also, use phrases that mirror the language in the “qualifications” section of the posting. Eliminate experience that isn’t relevant to the position.

3. Be proactive. Use an introductory email to address any issues that may result in your application being immediately dismissed. If you live in a different state from the employer, for example, be sure to mention any ties that you may have to that state, such as any relatives that may live there. That may alleviate any employer concern about relocating someone who may find the locale unsuitable.

4. Keywords, keywords, keywords. Be sure to tailor your resume to each job description. Using the same keywords and phrases used in the job description, and repeating them as frequently as possible in your resume while remaining logical. That will give a better result within systems that use applicant-tracking software and boost the chances of your resume being seen.

5. Keep it simple. Don’t include graphics, logos or pictures and don’t get fancy with text boxes, headers or footers, which may not get picked up by online resume-parsing tools. Moreover, nearly all applicant-tracking systems reduce resumes to basic text, so efforts to spruce up your resume with color or special fonts ultimately are wasted.

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