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Samantha Greenfield

80 percent of employers use automated applicant tracking systems!

Wow! I an amazed! The Job Tips blog reached 400 page views last month! That means there are a lot of people reading these job tips. It surprises me that I do not get more people taking advantage of our re-employment services workshops. The VEC has so much to offer - we are not just for un-employment claims anymore! E-mail me for the November workshop calendar and please indicate it you would like to be added to my monthly distribution list which informs you of guest speakers, job fairs and special events.

OK...Now for the good stuff (or not so good stuff)...

80% of employers use automated applicant tracking systems!

If you are currently in the job market, I am sure you have been a victim of the Resume Black Hole. Yeah, you know what I am talking about!

You spend countless hours filling out online applications, attaching your resume and formulating custom cover letters only to hit "submit application" and away it goes into Never Never Land. If you are lucky, you will get an immediate template formatted e-mail thanking you for your interest and your resume will be kept "on file" for a more suitable position. It can be depressing enough to bring you to tears or frustrating enough to make you want to rip your hair out.

I'd like to give you some insight on where your resume goes and why you are not getting noticed when you hit the "submit application" button.

Where does your resume go?

Many, if not most large corporations, now use applicant tracking systems. This is a software package that acts as an online database and gatekeeper that is supposed to help HR departments handle the mass amounts of applications they are receiving in this job market. The software sorts, categorizes and stores thousands of resumes and analyzes each before determining which ones actually become worthy of human eyes.

How do I gain access through this automated road block?

This is where keywords and phrases are so very important. All too often, qualified candidates face rejection because these software packages are programmed to scan and recognize pre-programmed words and phrases that are not included in the resume you submit. You need to make sure you mention every qualification as listed in the job description and use the same keywords and phrases to optimize your chances of your resume getting passed on to a real person.

Only apply for jobs that are a strong match for your background. With so many highly qualified professionals looking for a job, competition is fierce, and employers are being very selective about the candidates they bring in for job interviews. Applying for positions in which your skills and qualifications most closely match those in the job description will increase your odds of getting through the system.

You many be surprised that applicant tracking systems can even filter candidates based on their ZIP code. Again, if you are a perfect match, keep in mind the software package can, for example, be set to filter people who only live within 25 miles.

Resume formatting can also be an obstacle. I suggest that you have an attractive eye-catching document in Word that you can then save as a plain text document to be used when cutting and pasting your resume in to the online template. For more information on how to do this, please contact me and I will e-mail you the instructions.

My last bit of advice for today is, if at all possible, locate an actual physical address and mail a hard copy of your resume and cover letter with a note saying that you have applied via the online method, but want to follow up with a hard copy as well. This demonstrates you are very interested in the job.

I hope that understanding a little more about applicant screening software packages will enable you to submit a better resume that will eventually land on a human being's desk!

Please forward specific questions that you may have!

Best regards!


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