Have you ever wondered why you never hear back from employers after applying for dozens of jobs? There are a multitude of possible reasons behind this, but the likely answer is this: employers are using automated screening to sift through resumes.
What is resume screening?
When employers receive hundreds (or even thousands) of applications for a single job opening, they can't possibly interview every single candidate. So instead, they use a process called resume screening to weed out the less qualified candidates and narrow their pool of applicants to a more manageable number.
It can take a number of forms and may be happening as early as when you upload your resume into an online application. If your resume does not meet the employer's criteria, you will not get passed through to the next stage.
An online application form could potentially be used by thousands of people each day. How would a potential employer go through all of those resumes? If they were to look at each resume individually, they'd never get a chance to move forward with applicant interviews.
So, employers start sifting through resumes using automated screening tools and software. This allows them to get through many applications in very little time. It also means they can filter out candidates who don't measure up even before the resume and cover letter are read. Resumes that don't pass muster are simply deleted as soon as the software spots them, and they never go to a human for consideration. Employers report that screening software helps them eliminate well over 50% of resumes.
Commonly referred to as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), these software tools use keywords to highlight candidates who meet set criteria. When you include keywords in your resume immediately, before your work history, you tell the software that you have the right skills and training for that job. These keywords will be highlighted when an employer uses automated screening to sift through resumes.
If you want to ensure that your resume does not get screened out or if you are wondering if automated screening has taken place with your resume, look for the presence of keywords. If there are enough keywords to show your relevance for the type of job you are applying for, you're likely in the clear. On the other hand, if keywords are not found anywhere on your resume, you may be looking at an automated rejection letter.
So what can you do about this? Take a closer look at your resume and see how many keywords you've used. If there are enough to satisfy automated screening software, then submit it as is. Otherwise, you may need to tweak your resume by adding more keywords.
If you need help in the process, you can start by using similar tools to the ones that employers use to sift through resumes. The underlying technology in employer job screening software systems can be found in tools like Jobscan and Skillsyncer, resume keyword optimizers that can identify skills and keywords missing from your resume compared to a job description.
With these two tools in your arsenal, you can confidently apply for jobs with the knowledge that you're doing it the right way and improving your odds of getting an interview. Once you've secured an interview, you can begin the hard work of preparing for the next step in the process - the telephone screening.