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Four Key Tips for Avoiding the “Black Hole” When Applying for Jobs


The best piece of advice I can give for anyone looking for a new job, is to leverage your existing network. It sounds cliché as you’ve heard it time and time again but, “It’s not necessarily what you know, but who you know.” An individual still needs the proper skill set to be successful, but if the final decision comes down to two equally qualified candidates, the person who has a professional relationship with a key stakeholder, is going to get the offer.

There will be times when your network just isn’t quite enough and you’re going to find yourself applying for jobs on LinkedIn, Indeed, or directly on a company website, so what can help you from staying out of the so called “black hole?” Here are four crucial tips:

1. Always attach your resume.

Seems obvious right? Well, not always. You’d think this would be the single most important aspect when applying for a job, but I know from experience, there are so many people who forget to do this step. It’s the same way people write in an email “see attached” and then realize there is nothing attached to the email. Ensuring you just don’t miss or forget this step is obviously key.

On the other hand, I have experienced candidates who purposely don’t attach a resume, for fear of submitting a document with personal information on it or those who have claimed, they didn’t want to spend time submitting the resume if they weren’t going to be contacted anyway.

For those thinking along these lines, first, you don’t have to put any personal information, such as a home address, if you don’t want to. You still have an email address right? That is significant enough. Second, if you’re not going to take the time to submit your resume to a job application, then don’t get upset when a recruiter or HR professional doesn’t take the time to follow up with you.  Not submitting your resume to a job application is like punching your ticket straight to the black hole…on the express train.

2. Align your resume to the job description.

Notice how I used the word “align” and not “manipulate.” The worst thing you can do is try to make your resume look like you’re more qualified for the position then you truly are. Misrepresenting yourself might help you get an initial interview, but it’ll also help you lose credibility.

To avoid this mistake, make your professional experience that is relevant to the position, easy to find on your resume. In a previous article, I explained How to Make Your Resume Stand Out. If you’re applying for jobs, I suggest you read it. Using relevant key words on the job description to relate to the experience you have is a great way to get noticed and avoid the black hole.

3. Have a good LinkedIn profile.

This is a huge priority, as so many recruiters and HR professionals follow up with your submitted resume by comparing it to your LinkedIn. It’s the same as when you want to learn more about a specific company. We start by doing the first most obviously thing, we google the company. We analyze a company’s website, learn about them, compare different companies or projects they’ve worked on and what they offer, before deciding to call them. Using that analogy, it’s the same thing for LinkedIn. It’s the first place recruiters, HR professionals, and hiring managers will go to find out more information about you.

4. Reach out to someone in the organization.

If you are a recruiter or hiring manager, this will probably make you cringe. If every single person who submitted a resume, also reached out, your inbox would be overflowing more than it normally is. However, if done properly, it can have a very positive impact.

This may not be as applicable when dealing with large corporations, as it can be a little tricky to nail down the right person. That being said, in smaller organizations the hiring manager may be the actual person doing the recruiting, and if they aren’t, they most likely will have direct communication to the recruiter or HR department.

Sending a personalized email to the hiring manager or recruiter with your resume and a quick note will separate you from the field. If the person who posted to position is listed on LinkedIn, drop them a quick inbox message. Here is an example:

“Hello Mr(s.) Hiring Manager / Recruiter,

I can imagine how swamped you are right now so I’ll make this quick. I recently applied to the ABC123 Position with your company and would love an opportunity to discuss my qualifications with you, I believe I would be a great fit for this position. I look forward to hearing from you. “

A few pointers: Use empathy and don’t restate your qualifications. Your note alone should prompt them to review your application.

Remember, fundamentals are key. Apply these tips to help separate yourself from everyone else.

What have you done to make yourself stand out in the application process?

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