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We’ve all been there—applied to a job that we were very qualified for, and then never heard back. Generally that applies to jobs in which you haven’t directly spoken with a recruiter, but more or less when you submit a resume and cover letter to an online application portal. A huge part of why the majority of individuals don’t ever hear back from a job is because of a concept called, Resume Black Hole—or, that cyber void that seemingly swallows up the resumes of perfectly qualified candidates.

There are a lot of different factors that contribute to a resume being sucked into the infamous black hole. However, these four tips are the recurring bits of information I came across on how to avoid that. First of all, avoid putting in an enlarged header with your name and contact information. Though it’s important to include it on your resume, having it be so large and prominent can confuse the applicant tracking system (ATS) that is an electronic screener. Still include that information, but have it written smaller and more in line with the rest of the resume. Secondly, resumes that contain images, logos, graphs, charts, and other aesthetic components are not easily read when going through an electronic screener such as ATS, and could be at risk of going into the black hole. It’s best to stick to a basic format that’s easily read. Thirdly, it’s very important to proofread your resume before submitting it online. Not only because it makes you look more professional to have little to no errors, but systems such as ATS may not be able to decode spelling errors that a human might be able to—therefore, putting you in a situation where your resume could be looked over. Lastly, and certainly not least, make sure to incorporate relevant keywords in your resume that are listed in the original job posting. This is so very important because most systems like ATS are programmed to search out specific terms when screening applicants resumes, and so if there isn’t a sighting of a keyword, the application could be thrown out. Of course, there’s always the chance that a recruiter will be doing the screening, but on the off chance that they aren’t, it’s safest to include the keywords.

Resume black holes can be detrimental to your application status, unless you learn to tailor your specific resume to fit in alignment with the tips listed above. It’s best to save the fancy graphics and beautiful formatting for in person interviews. If you’d like to learn more about the different ways to avoid getting your resume deposited into the infamous resume black hole, check out this great article I came across. As always, be sure to check out our informative Digital Tip on this topic, too. Until next month, enjoy the peak season of Autumn. See you in November!

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Comment by Erika J. Kluge on October 22, 2018 at 11:39am

Great information Adrienne- this is a huge factor everyone needs to be aware of because most application processes are online now. 

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