The Resume Dark Hole!  Why haven’t I heard back…

Have you applied to 25 job postings, but haven’t received a single response?  Your resume may have landed in the ‘Dark Hole!’

“I have sent out at least 50 resumes,” a new client told me, “but I haven’t received one response, not one!”  I see a red flag when I hear ‘no responses.’  Likely, the resume is not following guidelines to pass a software scan by the Applicant Tracking System (ATS).  If ATS doesn’t pass the resume, it never lands on the Recruiter’s desk.

How Many Companies Use ATS?

73% of companies use ATS software that prescreens resumes before a recruiter sees them.  That means that when you upload your resume to an application on LinkedIn or and click send, your resume is first screened by a software.  If it gets past this technical screening, your resume will continue over to HR or the Hiring Manager.  If it doesn’t get past the screen, no one will know that you applied for the position posted online.

Resumes are screened for two things, keywords that match the job posting vocabulary and resume template formatting that the ATS software screens for.

  1. Check if your resume is written to include the Keywords in the Job Posting.
  2. What are Keywords? The list of Responsibilities and Skills/Experience Required are actually the Keywords that must be included in your resume.  You can tweak these Keywords for individual applications; however, you will soon discover a similar list of Keywords for similar types of positions you are applying for.  As you apply for positions, you won’t need to rework your Keywords as frequently.
  3. ATS Template Requirements: Use 10.5- or 11-point font size, except for your name at the top.  Bolding works fine to make certain words or titles stand out.  Do not use any bullet formatting except blackened circles.  Avoid checks, stars or empty circles for bullet points.  Do not use inserted boxes or tables.  Do not use a Header on page 1 as the ATS system will not see it. A Header on the 2nd page is ok and will not prevent your resume from going through, but the ATS system will simply not see it.
  4. Template tips for creative positions: Graphic Artists and those in other creative fields such as advertising and people in technical/engineering positions need to showcase their creativity on their resume.  However, it is also necessary to get past the ATS system if applying to positions on LinkedIn or Indeed.The answer is to create 2 resumes, one that is creative and one that is slightly ‘boring’, a plain normal resume formatted so that it will not fall into the Dark Hole.  You can, however, send your creative resume as an email attachment directly to the company HR recruiter, Hiring Manager, or to your Network.

Often clients will conclude that a company doesn’t appreciate their work experience, and usually fall into a bit of a funk after not hearing back for a couple of weeks.  But if you don’t hear back in 2-3 weeks from a company you are quite sure is the right fit for you, check your resume for ATS compatibility.

Jan Shurtz, Coaching & Consulting creates resumes that meet the ATS software standards.  Email to write your new updated resume! Free resume review.

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Hi, I’m Jan Shurtz

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