Use This Resume Checklist to Avoid the Resume “Black Hole”
We’ve all been there. After scouring the web for the perfect job, you’ve found the right role. You’ve had different people review and proof your resume. You’ve spent hours crafting the wittiest-yet-still-professional cover letter. You’ve finally prepared an application that you’re confident will make you a slam dunk for the role.
And then, nothing.
We know just how frustrating that can be. Submitting your resume only to have it wind up in a black hole can be defeating at best. That’s why we’ve developed a resume checklist and some key pointers—some of which you won’t hear anywhere else—to help make your resume, and you, outstanding.
Reasons Why Your Resume Got Stuck in a “Black Hole”
Several reasons beyond your control could cause your resume to fall into a black hole.
Age of the job posting
When applying for a job, it’s always a good idea to check when it was posted. Jobs over a week old may have already been filled, or you are one of the last applicants and the employer already has their favorites picked out.
There is a chance that posting the job was part of an internal HR policy. Some employers struggle with mandates that every open position is posted externally a certain number of times or for a certain time before making a hiring decision. So, the reality could be that the company has already identified an internal candidate whom they wanted for this role all along.
Limited time and resources
Many hiring managers don’t have the time and resources to review every application. So, there is a good chance the person reviewing the resumes found two or three that they liked before even getting to your resume in the stack. While it seems unfair, recruiting is often just one small piece of the job for the person reviewing resumes, so they have to be efficient.
That said, our resume checklist can help you get noticed.
The Only Resume Checklist You’ll Need
Take a moment to review our resume checklist. But first, know this: Your resume is sitting in a pile of resumes (maybe hundreds) somewhere. It’s important that you know that, for your own sanity’s sake. It didn’t just disappear, and you probably didn’t screw up the application.
Take a moment to review our resume checklist:
1. Use the top keywords
There is a very good chance your resume somehow missed the electronic keyword filter that many Applicant Tracking Systems use to sort through “qualified” resumes from all the rest.
2. Make an immediate connection to the role
There is a chance that your resume fell victim to someone who got glassy-eyed while looking through 300 others. But when it makes an immediate connection to what they’re looking for, you’ll have a much better chance of standing out. For instance, if you’re using a professional summary, make sure it relates to the specific job rather than appearing generic.
3. Highlight relevant experience
Tailor your resume for each job to which you apply. This means using similar keywords (but don’t fabricate your experience), including all relevant experience, and using terms or phrases that frequently appear in the description as frequently in your resume.
4. Address the hiring manager personally
Avoid the cringeworthy “To Whom it May Concern” and address your cover letter to the person who posted the job. Sometimes, the poster’s name or email address will be on the posting. Otherwise, you might start with someone in HR or whoever appears to be the direct supervisor for the role. Connect via social media and send a direct message or email. And if you can’t find the right person, try “Dear Hiring Manager” to ditch the formality.
5. Get creative with introductions
Find someone at a target company with whom you have a common interest. Look up the company name and your school, previous employers, fraternity/sorority, hobbies, military experience, etc. on LinkedIn to find people who may be more likely to respond when they see that you both worked for Apple, for instance, or that you’re a fellow U.S. Marine Corps veteran. Once you connect and celebrate (or commiserate over) your shared interest or experience, see if they’d be willing to help you get in front of the right person at their company.
6. Reference other connections (even remotely)
Find as many avenues as you can to connect with people in person. Job fairs, coffee dates, informational interviews—all of these can be better than (or a nice complement to) your online application. After all, you’re a lot harder to ignore once you’ve made a personal connection in real life.
7. Work with an ITAC recruiter
Find a good recruiter who can help get your resume directly in front of the hiring manager or HR representative at the company. This is the best way to ensure that the right person has actually laid eyes on it. Our recruiters at ITAC take the time to understand what’s important to you while educating you on the search process and demonstrating that they always have your best interest in mind.
8. Keep applying
Maybe you don’t want to hear this, but you never know how you will get your next job, and you need to cover your bases. It’s hard to tell which applications will get absorbed by the black hole, but the application process is necessary all the same. No one will take your search as seriously as you do, so do whatever it takes to find the role you deserve. Be patient, be persistent, and don’t take anything personally. Rejection (or no response) just means that you can cross that job off your list, knowing that the right one is still out there.
The Resume “Black Hole” is Real but Manageable
We are at the intersection of technology and the “war for talent.” The technology employers hope will help them hire great people may have yet to deliver on its promise. But the good news is that employers really want to find you. So, use our resume checklist and get in touch with ITAC Solutions. We can help shine a bright light on your unique talents, skills and expertise.