7-Step Resume Strategy For Overcoming The Resume Black Hole

We hear from job seekers every day who are sending out hundreds of resumes and job applications never to be heard from again. It’s hard to tell if it’s the resume at fault or the company not hiring, already hired, or if your resume is just sitting in a stack of 500 others never to be found. So, I’ve compiled a seven-step resume strategy to overcome the resume black hole so many resumes seem to go in to.


1. Manage Your Job Search, Don't Let It Manage You

There are great tools and resources out there to track the applications you submit, responses you receive and more. For example, Jibberjobber.com is an excellent tool to keep your job search organized and it beats using an old fashioned spreadsheet. When you’re tracking who you’re applying to, what positions and more it gives you the big picture so you’re not guessing how many applications you’ve sent in you know. It also tells you who is responding and what the next steps are.

2. Apply For Positions Most Suited For You

In a normal job market, I’d say go for it, apply to whatever you want for whatever reason you want. In fact, when I first graduated college I applied for positions that I wasn’t qualified for, hoping they’d take a chance on me and train me. Well, I didn’t get the exact position I applied to, but I got a call from the company saying they had another position I was perfectly qualified for. Of course, I did, and that’s how my career in human resources and recruiting started. In this economy, it’s tough to advise you to apply for something you’re under qualified for when there are hundreds of other qualified candidates. The chance you’d hear back is so slim that you’re asking to have your resume disappear in a deluge of others and never be heard from again. Conversely, applying for positions you are overqualified for will get you about the same results. I will tell you the truth about it. Hiring managers are NERVOUS to hire overqualified people for one reason – they don’t want to risk hiring you now and having you up and leave when a better job comes along. Then, they have to start all over training someone new and it costs them money. They’d rather hire someone who meets the requirements versus grossly exceeds them. It’s a safer bet right now and, unfortunately for unemployed job seekers, it’s an employer’s market they can be as picky as they want.

3. Reach Out And Make Contact

If you’ve spoken personally to a contact at the company send your resume to them. If you know someone at the company send it to them. An association with someone either over the phone or in person means you will be remembered you won’t be just a faceless piece of paper in a stack.

4. Use Your Time Wisely

All of the time you’re going to be saving from not applying for positions you are under- or overqualified for can be better redirected into optimizing your resume. Use the job descriptions of the positions you are applying to as a guide for what keywords to include in your resume and cover letter. You can usually tell which ones the company wants the most because these fall under position REQUIREMENTS. These should be in the TOP third of your resume, what I would call above the fold. It’s important the employer sees this in their initial 5-second review. This will gain you additional time from the employer to review the rest of the resume. Make sure to include the PREFERRED qualifications as well this makes you an even more desirable client. If you’re showing them that you meet all their required and preferred qualifications in your resume, why wouldn’t they call you? That would make you the ideal candidate. Then, their search is over and you have the interview.

5. Realize It's Not About What You Want

The job market has moved from a seller to a buyer's market, just like the housing market. In a buyer's market, buyers have choices and they can take as much time as they want and be as picky as they want. I assure you hiring managers are the same way. It’s an employer's market and they can take the time they want and need to make the right choice. So, don’t waste your time sending out resumes and cover letters that tell the employer a laundry list of what you want and need in a job. It won’t get you very far. Instead, be specific about what you can offer the employer that aligns with their needs. This goes back to the required and preferred qualifications. So, back away from the objective… better yet, erase it from your resume altogether and replace it with a powerful personal branding statement.

6. Don't Underestimate Looks

Let me tell you exactly what your resume format is saying to the employer – it’s either saying organized, professional, well put together, and detail-oriented or it’s saying, “Help, I’m a mess!” If you were a hiring manager, would you rather hire someone who was professional and well put together or someone who was a mess? Point blank – your format speaks VOLUMES about you. If you want to get their attention, it better make the right first impression, otherwise it doesn’t matter how qualified you are you’ll never hear back from them.

7. Be Your Own Best Salesperson

Statistics prove again and again accomplishment-based resumes are far more effective than ones that just list your job responsibilities. My take is this – responsibilities are for job descriptions and resumes are for selling yourself through previous wins! I hear job seekers say all the time, "I don’t have any accomplishments" or "My job wasn’t numbers based." Let me be direct – if you had no accomplishments at your past positions, you would have been fired from all of them. If you haven’t been fired from every job you have ever had, then you must have been doing something right! What was that something right you were doing? Put that on your resume!

Related Posts:

When To Turn Down A Job Offer Risks And Rewards Of Taking A Job You Don’t Want Why No One Is Calling You After You’ve Applied To Over 100 Jobs Online Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if your co-worker took credit for the work you did...right in front of your colleagues AND boss!

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Cam submitted. He's been working at a job for awhile, but recently overheard a hiring manager making fun of a candidate with autism right after an interview-not only awkward, but VERY unprofessional!

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if witnessed a hiring manager at your organization making fun of a candidate who they had just interviewed who had autism.

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less

Starting a family is one of the biggest milestones in a person's life. It's in those first few months when a parent can really bond with their newborn and make lifelong memories. However, for some new dads, it can be difficult to juggle being a new parent while remaining dedicated to their career.

Fortunately, some companies have generous paternity leave policies that give new dads the ability to take time off of work to stay home with their child.

SHOW MORE Show less

There are LOTS of questions around resume dos and don'ts. There's so much advice out there that it can be overwhelming to try and figure out what's the correct answer.

During our weekly live Office Hours on YouTube, two of our coaches, Ariella Coombs and J.T. O'Donnell, answer questions live from viewers related to their job search, career success, on the job situations and more.

We complied a simple list of what we find to be the most common questions our coaches get about resumes. We hope you find this helpful.

Let's start with the basics...

SHOW MORE Show less

Back in March, we made the hard decision to change our private Facebook group of over 37 THOUSAND members to a fee-based only platform.

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if a recruiter called you a day EARLY for your phone interview (and you were NOT PREPARED!)

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less

If you caught our last video in our latest series, "Well This Happened..." you heard about the problem one of our viewers is having with their co-worker. To recap, they have a colleague that overshares a little too much, and they weren't sure how to go about addressing this. We had some great responses from our viewers on how they think our friend should handle this. Check out the answer below and let us know if you guessed right or not!

SHOW MORE Show less

Negotiating salary can be a scary, intimidating experience. However, if you go in prepared, it doesn't have to be that way - you can confidently negotiate for a salary you deserve. But how?

SHOW MORE Show less