5 Ways To Fight The Resume Black Hole In 2012

resume black holeEver wonder why your job applications get ignored? A recent survey sheds some light on why so many resumes fall into a black hole, getting the prospective job hunter nowhere.

The Talent Board, a nonprofit seeking to improve the job-application process, surveyed job candidates from 24 mostly large companies about their experiences, either via email or through a button placed on the companies' career websites.

It found that:

  • 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.

To get a better understanding of unsuccessful job applicants' experiences, the Talent Board surveyed more than 7,800 candidates who identified themselves as rejected job candidates. The results were strikingly similar. Among the findings:

  • 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."

Given the Talent Board's findings, what can you do to ensure your resume doesn't fall into a black hole? CareerBuilder.com offers these five tips:

  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.
  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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