The Intergalactic Battle With Resumes

The Intergalactic Battle With Resumes

One of my missions here on the WorkStrong blog is to bridge the divide between job seekers and recruiters.  If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then job seekers are from this galaxy and recruiters are from another one far, far away.

How do I propose to create such a bridge?  By talking about the same issue from both sides of the universe.

Let’s begin with resumes.

Right now, job seekers are submitting resumes to employers in unprecedented numbers.  That’s no surprise.  With the lousy economy, there just are a lot of people looking for work.  At the same time and as a result, recruiters are drowning in resumes.  Their systems for receiving, storing and, most importantly, evaluating resumes just aren’t up to the task.

What happens when these two universes collide?  It’s a black hole for both parties.  Job seekers don’t get the attention they deserve, and recruiters are unable to fill their openings in a timely fashion.

So, what do I propose?

For job seekers, the solution is to be more discriminating and practice the Application 2-Step.

Application Step 1: You only have so many hours in the day, so spend them on the job openings where you have the best chance of success.  Applying for every single opening that has any interest to you or for which you are even partially qualified is a sure-fire formula for failure.  Applying for a handful of positions for which you are fully qualified and then following up on your application to enhance your competitive position dramatically increases your odds of success.

Your applications are Step 1 in the Application 2-Step; your follow up is Step 2.

How do execute the second step?  For each of the positions for which you’ve applied, get out there and start networking with colleagues, friends, former workers and bosses to find someone whom you know or has some connection with you (e.g., you’re both graduates of the same school or both members of a professional association).  Then, ask that person to hand carry your resume into the HR Department and lay it on the desk of the recruiter who is filling the opening.  That will help the recruiter by singling out someone they should consider in that big stack of resumes, and it will help you be more competitive by singling you out in that big stack of resumes.  Get it?

For recruiters, the solution is to make the problem of resume management more visible to the boss.

There are technologies and techniques available right now that can help winnow the best qualified applicants out of the torrent of those who apply for your openings.  The technologies include better matching systems and alternative screening mechanisms while the techniques include more focused advertising among job boards and the use of your ATS auto-responder as a preliminary evaluation tool.  The problem, of course, is getting the time and money required to implement these solutions, especially with today’s tight budgets.

What should you do?

Bring the problem to your boss in a way that enables them to see and appreciate it.  Print out the 437 or 612 or 395 resumes you receive for your next job posting, walk into the boss’s office and dump them on their desk.  It may be a bit dramatic, but they’ll see your dilemma in a very new (and more accurate) way.  Then, remind them of that immortal phrase so dear to all managers—“Our employees are our most important asset!”—and tell them that you can’t deliver high value assets with 1952 technology and tools.  They’ll get the message.  And you’ll get the money, especially if the boss then carries that pile of resumes into the CFO’s office and dumps it on their desk, as well.  As we all learned in kindergarten (and in business school), there’s nothing like show and tell.

Thanks for reading,
Peter