Avoiding the Proverbial “Black Hole”

If you ever read about how companies, as well as some of the big job boards such as Monster Worldwide and CareerBuilder, are making their applicant tracking systems more sophisticated in attracting job applicants, you would think the world of job hunting is becoming a lot like the world of online dating.

While human resources departments act more like dating websites as they continue to invest in software to more efficiently match applicants to jobs, it doesn’t make it more likely that you, the job hunter, will land an interview.

With or without sophisticated matching software, the odds that you’ll get an interview from answering an online ad is between 3 and 6 percent.

The reason for this is that the screening process used by most companies and applicant tracking systems is a very intense one of eliminating applicants who simply do not match up to a job’s requirements, otherwise known as the magical keyword approach.

Job hunters who apply online need to be reminded that they could be the best thing since sliced bread when it comes to being qualified to fill a particular job, but if they do not match up point-by-point to the job description, they will ultimately end up in the proverbial black hole and not even hear back from the company.

Here’s the takeaway: New technology may make it easier for companies to find the “perfect” match for the role, but it will not increase your probability of getting an interview. The best approach is still to leverage your networking efforts and contact the right people at the right level within your targeted companies. More than any online profile, here is where you should be putting in the most time and energy, as this is how you will increase your odds of getting an interview.

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