I know several other people who had this same problem and were on the verge of giving up. They started to think they weren’t good enough for any employer and may never get the job they desired. But all that has changed now for most of them, and it can for you too. I know how frustrating it must feel, considering the enthusiasm with which you filled out those resumes, wrote the cover letters and sent those emails.
You did write hundreds of resumes for the hundreds of applications right? If it was just one resume you sent out to hundreds of recruiters, then that is the first thing you’re doing wrong. It is really not about the number of times you send out your application; it’s about the quality of your resume and its suitability.
Also, you must understand that most recruiters- about 75% of them- now use a recruiting robot called Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to select only the right candidates for an interview. In fact, 75% of resumes are never seen by human eyes. These are the casualties of the first gate-keeping process, and maybe you’ve been one of them all the while.
This experience may have been bad for you, but it is great for recruiters. The ATS helps them reduce the pool of applications they have to attend to, thus reducing time, energy and money spent on them. There are the few that get picked by the ATS. These are the ones that get to the human recruiter. Depending on the mood, professionalism and patience, he may not do a thorough job looking through those resumes. More often than not, the best applicant doesn’t get picked for a job.
So if you have hundreds of resumes sent out and you’re not getting calls for interviews, there are a number of things you may be doing wrong.
You’ve been using the wrong format.
I always advise that the chronological or Hybrid format will score better points on an Applicant Tracking System. Also, ensure you send the file in the right format, depending on what the recruiter asks for. If there is no specification, a docx file should do.
You’ve also not been paying attention to keywords.
These robots deployed to scan your resume are searching for keywords that match the job description. You should, therefore, be careful to include them.
If you’re that person who has been into designs and formatting, you should stop.
I know how you think a good design will impress an employer, but these designs cannot go past the Applicant Tracking System. So Keep it simple. Do away with unnecessary formatting that includes images, columns and tables. If you must have headers and footers, do not place important information in them.
It is important to add headings to your resume.
But using stylish headings like “What I’ve been up to” instead of “Job Experience” may have cost you several interview opportunities in the past. These resume bots are programmed to recognize the commonly used terms like “Job Experience”, “Skills” and “Qualification”.
Have you been using a Career Highlights Section?
I guessed as much. This is one quick way to tell the recruiter how suited you are for the position. Also, this section can have lots of the keywords from the job description, making it easy to beat the bots.
Using Responsibilities rather than Accomplishments.
This is one mistake that many applicants make. The recruiter probably knows the roles of your former position better than you. What you should show her is how much you accomplished in that role. Use numbers and figures to express your achievements where necessary.
Having one Universal Resume is another problem.
Your resume should be job specific. Tailor your resume and keywords to the particular position you’re applying to. That’s the way to go.
Not Scanning your Resume.
If you must beat the bots, you should use the bots to test your resume. Find out what ATS is used in your location and popular among such companies and scan your resume along with the job description. If you can score up to a 95% matching score, then you’re good to go. A Canadian job seeker should scan with a Canadian Applicant Tracking System.