Tricks To Get Past The Screeners

First of all, apply for every job you are qualified for.  It is impossible to tell if the job is real.  You may as well take 5 minutes and apply.

Did you notice I did NOT say take 15 seconds and apply?  Internet job boards let you send off a resume without thinking.  You can send off a hundred in an hour.  That just assures you of 100 failures.  If you take 5 minutes and send off an effective resume for each job, you’ll do better than if you spam every employer in your area.

Most resumes are screened out electronically for large companies.  Every company then uses a clerical screener to throw out 90% of the resumes that are left with only a 10 second glance.  The remaining resumes get a 45 second read through and often only 5 out 100 original resumes are seen by anyone outside of HR.

Machines only care about one thing….a perfect match.  You have to have every requirement.  Look at the job advertisement.  Does it have an acronym like “MS Word”?  Then have “MS Word” and “Microsoft Word” in your resume somewhere.  Does it ask for “PC experience”?  Then put the words “PC experience” somewhere.  You may want to put a “Technology Experience” section at the end of each job or the end of the resume.  You can put PowerPoint, Access, SAP A/R, Lawson GL and other cryptic requirements there.  The machine will find an exact match and you will get to the clerical screener.

The clerical screener really wants to throw out as many resumes as possible.  Every one he keeps means more work.  Look at the job listing.  What are they asking for?  Don’t bury your most important experience in a paragraph.

Screeners do not read paragraphs.  They read

  • The first 5 words in bullets and paragraphs.
  • The first 3 bullets only.
  • Job titles that are in bold type
  • Words that are in bold type.

They may read italicized words, but not as often as bold.  Warning:  Don’t camouflage your qualifications by bolding everything YOU think is important.  Only bold the things asked for in the ad.

Make sure a screener who doesn’t want to have to read your whole resume sees you match the job.

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Something To Do Today

For every job you are applying for, create a resume that will get past the screeners.  Bullet and bold everything the job ad asks for.

Tomorrow:  Job Boards:  How to beat the internal candidate.

One response to “Tricks To Get Past The Screeners

  1. Very timely. Been applying online 100 times with no bites. Getting frustrated, but haven’t given up.

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