Not only does applying online feel like you’re sending your electronic transmissions into a black hole, recruiters aren’t crazy about the impersonal process either. And that’s why social networking has become so important. In years past, recruiters reviewed hard copies of resumes. Today, they collect your resume “data,” search it for keywords (those with unconventional backgrounds won’t be selected, no matter how qualified they might be), and if you’re one of the first few of potentially thousands of applicants, your resume will be visually inspected (scanned) by a recruiter. But that still doesn’t guarantee an interview.
I had the privilege of hearing a panel of 4 recruiters discuss the job application process at a professional conference awhile back. Here’s part of the conversation:
Recruiter A: “I want to be sure that the candidate is fully qualified, so I read resumes from the bottom up. You have no idea how many people apply for jobs that they are not qualified for; they don’t seem to make any effort to make sure the resume is appropriate for the type of position.”
Resume Writer: You skip the profile? But I take great pains to make sure that the profile section is accurate and impactful and shows the candidate’s passion.
Recruiter B: We like to hire people that are fully engaged and looking for growth. What I really want to know is what the candidate is passionate about!
Resume Writer: READ THE PROFILE! (laughter from the audience)
Recruiter A: It is perfectly fine for candidates to reach out to me to let me know they’re a great fit for a specific position. But they MUST have followed the rules and applied online first.
So, recruiters want to know what you’re passionate about and it’s okay to reach out to them once you’ve applied online. How do you do that? You find them on LinkedIn, you diligently research their company’s website or you identify people you know that work where you want to work and you let them know 1) that you’re an ideal candidate and 2) why you’re an ideal candidate. Then you make every effort to get introduced to the hiring manager for that position.
Social media allows you to reach out to people easily and conveniently; it has largely taken the place of the interview process that we fondly remember (but no longer exists). You still need to make an effort to build relationships, however, and that requires that you articulate your value, strengths and suitability for the position you want. So be selective, be confident and be diligent. You need only one job, so research the companies where you want to work, target carefully and reach out. You have absolutely nothing to lose!
Ellie Vargo, MRW, CCMC