Did you graduate college after 2002? Then here is the full, uncensored story of why you aren’t getting called back for an interview after your countless applications. Here is the truth of why corporate America is making it nearly impossible to get hired.
Companies are continuing to use an ancient way of screening candidates that didn’t work 15 years ago… and still doesn’t work today.
You may be completely qualified for a job.
You match every requirement.
Then why the heck are you not getting called back?
Over the next 5 minutes, I am going to explain everything.
Then I am going to give you an extremely actionable guide to start getting responses from your resume immediately.
To discover why getting hired is so difficult… we first need to go back 25 years.
What was job hunting like before the internet?
What Job Hunting Used to Be Like
What You Used to Do to Apply for Jobs
Pre-internet, applicants would find an open position posted as some sort of advertisement… usually written in your local newspaper.
You would then mail your cover letter and resume… usually hearing back within a few weeks.
However, HR departments were drowning in an ocean of paper…
Paper applications, newspaper clippings of job listings, post-it notes, and your resume and cover letter made the act of hiring and onboarding new employees a tedious, paper intensive task.
There were certainly privacy concerns with the amount of paper floating around in corporate offices.
Companies had to have very large HR departments just to manage all the paperwork.
The Rise of the Machine
In 1999 the first job board appeared online.
Suddenly, the ability to see jobs dramatically increased.
Also, the ease of applying for jobs dramatically increased. You could browse a large directory of job listings and apply for several positions in a row without even leaving your desktop computer.
However, this led to unqualified candidates applying for jobs. Applying for jobs became faster… so applicants would increase the quantity of applications sent during job hunting.
Companies with overwhelmed HR departments became even more frazzled.
Dozens of applications for a single job turned into hundreds.
They needed to create a way to filter, sort, and automate their process.
The Birth of the Applicant Tracking Machine
The Applicant Tracking System solved two problems.
- It digitally sorted the mess of papers that infiltrated HR departments
- It could screen out unqualified candidates
An Applicant Tracking System is this:
An ATS is a type of software application that handles the recruitment process, namely by sorting through thousands of resumes, to determine which ones are the best fit for the positions for which they were submitted.Jobscan.com
Hiring managers didn’t have enough time to look at hundreds of applications. Using an ATS to search for certain key words would allow them to find the ideal candidates.
So Why is Your Resume Getting Sucked Into a Black Hole?
These ATS machines are searching for very specific key words.
If your resume does not have the correct keywords, you will be immediately get filtered out… without even a chance of a human to look at your resume.
So that cover letter you spent an hour writing?
Yep… did not even get read.
That resume you spent 3 hours formatting? And you had your uncle look at it to make sure it looked good?
…Didn’t even get a chance.
So what do you need to do?
SEO for Your Resume
What is SEO?
SEO (search engine optimization) is how websites rank in google listings based on the keywords written on their webpage (among other factors).
A website will not rank for google search on “athletic shoes” if the website is all about agriculture.
In the same way, if your resume has a bunch of keywords about sales… you will likely not get past the filter if the job posting is about customer service.
I created an easy to use worksheet to optimize your resume. This worksheet will help ensure you do not get filtered out because you are lacking in keywords.
When a hiring manager posts a job, they insert a bunch of keywords and phrases that the ideal candidate would have in their resume.
If your resume does not have the right keywords, you will not even get the opportunity to have your resume looked at
Two Qualified Candidates… One Hire
Let’s walk through an example.
Two nearly identical candidates applying for a consulting job.
Both have worked at comparable jobs, have achieved similar results, and built the same skills.
Both went to the same college… and had nearly the same GPA.
Both are extremely qualified for the job…. But only one will even get the interview.
Candidate A used words like “consult” to describe his first role with a company… then wanted to be creative and used words like “advise” and “guide” and “counsel” for his other work experiences.
Candidate B only used the word “consult.”
Unfortunately, the hiring manager who set up the keywords for this position wasn’t feeling very creative, so he only had a few variations of “consult” as a keyword (consulting, consulted, etc).
It appeared that Candidate B did not have nearly as much consulting experience as Candidate A.
Therefore, Candidate A got the interview… Candidate B didn’t even have a chance…
So how are you supposed to know what keywords to include in your resume?
4 Ways to Knowing Which Keywords to Include in Your Resume
1. The Job Description
Too obvious? Unfortunately, all you lazy job hunters think your three variations of your resume is just good enough…
Each resume should be different because each job description has different keywords that it is looking for.
A passion for all thing social media – knowledge of key social media platform guidelines, including, but not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.
Your resume should not just include “Strong knowledge of social media platforms”… but list each social media platform where you have experience.
2. Keywords for the Company Website
Spend a good amount of time reading through the company’s website.
Which words are repeated or emphasized?
Go to the company’s about page and blog to get an idea of the language commonly used.
3. Mission Statement / Core Values
A lot of the hiring process is looking to see whether you would be a cultural fit for the company.
I’ve even been asked “which of our core values do you exhibit the most?” in an interview for a company.
Position yourself as someone who exhibits the same core values as the company.
Line up your personal mission with what the company wants to accomplish.
4. Commonly Used Industry Terms
How do you do this?
Almost any niche has an online community dedicated to that niche.
- Mechanical Engineers: http://mechanical-engg.com
- Graphic Designers: http://www.graphicdesignforum.com/forum/
- Quantum Physics: https://www.physicsforums.com/forums/quantum-physics.62/
Do a quick google search to find where like-minded professionals in your niche are congregating.
Read through their posts and identify common terms referenced.
Step 1: Go to Amazon.com
Step 2: Search for the niche of the job you are looking for (e.g. digital marketing)
Step 3: Choose a book
Step 4: Click the “Look Inside” button
Step 5: Read through the table of contents
Step 6: Make a list of terms referenced in the book. Include those terms in your resume
Example Keywords: leads, close, funnel, nurture, strategic, customers, generate, follow up.
The HUGE Problem with Job Boards
80% of open positions are unadvertised.
This means they are listed on an Applicant Tracking System but not showing up on the commonly used job boards or even the company website.
However, it is still possible to find these open positions.
I created a guide on how to find these unlisted jobs in 3 minutes or less.
These positions have less competition because they are not being advertised yet.
Many of these positions are filled via word of mouth referrals before you even have a chance to apply to them.
Let’s Get Practical
Job hunting is stinking hard. I’m here to help.
Step 1: Create a list of keywords you need to include in your resume
Step 2: Modify your resume to include at least 70% of the keywords you have listed
Step 3: Test out the effectiveness of your new, optimized resume by applying for unadvertised, less competitive jobs.