How Employers See Your Resume Is the Key to Getting a Great Job
I work with many job seekers all over this great country. You all have something in common no matter what you do, what level you are at, or where you live. It goes like this. You apply to a job at a great company, sit back and wait for the phone to ring, and hope to set up an interview (Is waiting for the phone to ring a thing anymore?). Eighty percent of you are disappointed when you hear nothing back from the employer.
Sound familiar? The real problem is that you gladly accept this with the validating excuses like, “I guess they hired someone internally” or “I probably didn’t have the skills they were looking for” or “I need a new resume to get noticed.”
If you were the employer and had one hundred resumes to select from, how would you do it? With each company, the answer will be completely different. To understand how your background is evaluated, here are just a few employer “sorting” techniques companies use to decide who gets an interview:
- Applicant Tracking Systems- No humans, only algorithms are looking for keywords. The more keywords you have from the job description, the higher you will rank. The ATS will give the recruiter a “hot list” of candidates to contact.
- Human Reviewers- This is good and bad. Many times, the person doing the initial screening is only looking for “A” resumes. This would be the right education, titles, skills, designations, and location. The issue for many job seekers is your go-to resume may not exactly fit the job, so with a six-second scan done by the recruiter, your resume could end up in the trash. Also, you have no idea what someone may see on your resume that may eliminate your chances. What if the person reviewing your resume doesn’t personally like your college since it was their rival (and you are taught to hate your rivals) or if you get eliminated because the last company you worked for is the same one their previous hire came from that they had to fire. Would a resume screener with ten years’ experience view the same resume differently than a screener who only has six months of experience? Of course, and it happens every day.
- Batch Recruiting- Companies will recruit in batches. In other words, they will review the first thirty resumes for a job, and if they find the person they are looking for, no one else will be considered. Batch recruiting is more prevalent for lower paying jobs, but those who apply a few days after the original post have no shot.
- Robot Reviewers. While not commonplace yet, some companies have robots reach out to you via “chatbots” like MYA. It is a machine learning robot that can interview you via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. When you submit your application and resume, chatbots will connect to you and hold a very sophisticated conversation with you to determine if you should be set up for an interview. If 100 resumes are submitted, MYA can interview all 100 resumes regardless of missing keywords, job gaps, lack of education, or an inadequate skillset (you shouldn’t be applying anyway if you don’t line up with at least 70% of the job requirements). The way you answer a chatbots’ question will determine your interview fate. The chatbot will communicate just as good if not better than a human!
- The “Maybe” Pile- If an employer determines your resume to be a "maybe" match, this is a good thing because at some point they will come back to review it more closely. Some applicant tracking systems do this by providing a list of resumes that are an 80%-90% match. This makes it easy to find the best matches and those that don't come close to the job requirements. The "maybe" pile is where supporting documents will help. These include a great cover letter (a couple of sentences but lets the employer know you have the primary skill they are looking for) and good social profiles. The go-to social media for recruiters is LinkedIn. I tell job seekers all the time to pray that an employer opens your LinkedIn profile so you can make a piece of paper come to life with photos, documents, and pictures.
Every company looks at your resume differently to try to determine if you are interview worthy. The best way to ensure you make it is to apply to jobs that fit your background and make sure your resume and digital presence match. So many of you land on the “maybe” pile only because the system they use to screen you can’t figure out how awesome you are and the value you will bring to the company.