An Insider’s Look: What Happens to My Resume After I Apply?

Pair of hands holding a paper resume

If you’re like anyone else who’s ever searched for a job online, you’ve probably wondered if anyone even looks at your resume. Submissions can be quick and easy, allowing you to distribute your resume further in an hour than you would in a day looking for “job wanted” signs. That said, it often feels like you send your resume out a thousand times and wait around forever without even getting a response. It’s important to remember that not all companies send letters of acknowledgment when they receive your application. This can be discouraging, but it’s really a matter of the industry you’re trying to enter. More formal industries may send an immediate response and want you to come interview right away while others can take between two to eight weeks to select the best candidate. Some frustration is to be expected, but the key to overcoming it and landing the job of your dreams is to understand the recruiting software used by many companies in the 21st century. The key to any fast-paced hiring system boils down to an applicant tracking system, which is a method of identifying the best candidate through AI and resume analysis.

The Secret Behind Applicant Tracking Systems

ATS software is designed to fulfill a variety of tasks from sorting resumes to identifying specific keywords. Often, these technologies are able to determine if an applicant is qualified for a job before a human resources staff member even evaluates the candidate’s resume. These and other functions help streamline the hiring process and filter out the constant stream of applicants. That isn’t the only thing this revolutionary recruitment software can do. Although the most basic ATS’s just check resumes and sort them by qualifications, more advanced systems integrate features like scheduling interviews and running background checks into their standard suites. The most effective and ideal of these talent acquisition systems can decrease the amount of time spent filling a position by 27%.

Making Sure You Pass the Test

With applicant tracking systems eliminating large chunks of the candidates in the first stage alone, how can you hope to stand out? A good place to start is by making sure you haven’t loaded your resume with unnecessary buzzwords, as these systems are geared more toward gauging possible performance by experience rather than by words like “diligent” and “hardworking.” It’s also important to use conversational language in areas where you can afford to do so. If you’ve made it through the first stage, the hiring manager will read through the resumes that passed the test and eliminate larger groups of candidates. Sometimes, managers will follow this step by sending out questionnaires to establish a conversational rapport with the applicants. When you’ve made it this far, you’re almost there. Now, it’s just a matter of interviewing and presenting yourself well. Afterward, you may want to follow up with an email or phone call to thank the interviewer for his or her time. Don’t forget to keep track of important deadlines during the process. If you haven’t gotten a response by the time the job was supposed to be filled, you probably weren’t selected, but once you know how your application is being judged and processed, you can move forward and apply for positions with increased confidence.