After you have applied for a job, you might be surprised (and disappointed) at what happens.
But, knowing what happens can help you win the next time.
Every job seeker would like to believe that when they send a resume to an employer, someone on the receiving end reads the entire document word for word, thinking...
“How can we best use this person in our organization?”
Your resume may not be seen and, most likely, will never be read in its entirety.
The real thought process when the employer is reading it is...
“Is there anything in here that knocks this person out from further consideration?”
Even in today’s job market, employers are overwhelmed with the number of applicants they get for each job, most of whom are not remotely qualified.
In the simple point-and-click world of online applications, many people apply to hundreds of jobs whether they are qualified or not, in the hopes that they might get lucky.
Successful applications aren't a random match -- luck has less to do with being selected than carefully choosing job opportunities and clearly matching the job requirements.
After posting a job, employers face hundreds of resumes and applications with less than 50% actually qualified for the job.
Cover letters may or may not be included by the job seeker. A cover letter may or may not be read, if included, depending on the employer's rules and processes and the time available.
An employer's only hope of finding the qualified candidates in the hundreds of resumes is to reject as many as possible, as quickly as they can.
How do they choose who to accept and who to ignore? Methods and processes vary. However, here are likely scenarios.
Most medium and large companies typically use ATS’s ("Applicant Tracking Systems") to gather and track all applicants.
Smaller organizations may use an ATS or they may have a more manual process, reviewing resumes individually.
In either case, the reader decides if each candidate is worth further consideration - or not worth further consideration - from a very brief scan, determining if the person has the relevant background and experience for the role.
If they don't see the connection between background and experience and the job requirements immediately, they move on.
Usually, there are plenty of additional resumes to review.
How do employers make the judgment in that quick scan? This is a typical process --
Assuming that your resume uses good grammar and contains no misspellings, most recruiters will approach a resume in a similar way, following these steps described below either manually, in a small organization, or using the ATS.
This step usually separates the "maybe" candidates into two groups -- those who are rejected and those who will move forward, likely invited to interview for the job.
Usually, this step involves:
Is the employer being cruel and heartless? No. Is the system flawed? Certainly...
However, currently there is no other way to deal with the volume of applicants more effectively. How long would it take you to thoroughly read dozens, hundreds, or sometimes thousands of resumes, and compare each of them to find the 3 most qualified? Way too long! More time than any employer has available for the project.
So how do you make sure your resume gets picked?
Make sure your resume screams "I'm a fit!" in that initial scan!
Customize your resume for each opportunity --
Understanding the typical process on the employer’s end when reviewing resumes can help you be more strategic in crafting your resume so that it has the best possible chance of being selected.
Always consider the process form the employer's point of view! What do they want?
Harry Urschel has over 25 years experience as an independent recruiter in Minnesota. He currently operates as e-Executives, writes a blog for Job Seekers called The Wise Job Search, and can be found on Twitter as @eExecutives. He can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org