Many jobs get a lot of applicants and a lot of resumes are never even read by the person in charge of the position. Here are three tips on how to get your resume seen by the hiring manager.
A lot of jobs get a lot of applications. These numbers can be as high as hundreds and even thousands.
Managers don’t have the time to read them all, which is why they use technology, like applicant tracking systems (ATS), to help sort through them. Or, sometimes the job goes to an assistant or intern. Other times, the manager reads a bunch, and those that come in later are deleted unopened because small businesses just don’t have the resources to handle the volume.
These steps are necessary and useful to keep things going. But, sometimes, it means good applicants get lost in the fray. That assistant or intern might dismiss a resume that their boss wouldn’t have, based on individual bias, or even a bad mood. And an ATS will be screening for very specific things.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to increase the chances your resume gets read by an actual live human – even the human in charge – and doesn’t get lost. We’ve got three of the most obvious and easiest listed here for you.
How to get your resume seen by the hiring manager.
Optimize for the ATS
There’s a good chance your resume is going to be read by a bot (also known as an applicant tracking system, or ATS) before it gets seen by a human. Optimize your resume for the bot’s approval, so it moves you on to the next stage.
This probably means making some changes to your application package. Use keywords found in the job posting, and variations on them; eliminate the “objective” section if you still have one, and avoid cutesy job titles like “rock star” and “ninja.”
Use basic formatting and simple characters, so you don’t get tripped up by the system. Unless you’re applying for a graphic artist position or something else that requires a “look,” don’t include graphics, tables, charts, or images in your resume. The bot probably can’t them. Use a sans serif font. Apparently, some older systems have trouble with serif fonts. Use round bullets for bullet lists.
For more on this topic, click here.
Contact the hiring manager directly
Find the manager for the department at the company where you’re applying and send them an email and/or a message on LinkedIn. State that you’re interested in the job and why you’re a good fit. Keep it short and to the point.
Start with something like, “Dear [hiring manager’s name], I saw your posting for a [job title] on CareerBeacon and am writing to ask you to please keep an eye out for my application.” Then state, in a few words, why you’re qualified and what value you will bring to the table. “My 10 years of experience in this area make me a perfect fit for this role. In my previous job I [something amazing that you did].”
Toss in something about why you want to work at that specific company – you admire their products, their mission, their branding, and they have a good reputation as an employer. And sign off with “I hope to hear from you.”
A lot of advice in this area suggests making extra asks, like “If I am not a fit, I’d love to connect over coffee,” or presumptuous statements like, “Let me know when you have time to chat.” Don’t do this. They don’t want to have coffee with you and it reads like you are following a terrible template.
Get a referral
Referred candidates are significantly more likely to get an interview and get the job than candidates without a referral.
Do you know someone who works at the company? This is the easiest way to get referred. Contact that person and ask them to put in a good word for you (this is a good argument for constantly maintaining your network and staying in touch with people regularly. If you don’t maintain contact and only reach out when you want a favour, people will likely resent it.)
If you don’t know anyone, find someone who works there on social media — preferably LinkedIn, but other platforms work too. Connect with them and say “Hey! I noticed you work at X Company! I just applied for a job there. Do you like it?” If a conversation ensues, you might be able to build up fairly quickly to asking for a mention. Don’t push it or ask too much, or it will turn them off and they might wind up warning the hiring manager against you instead of putting in a good word. But if they are receptive and friendly, maybe you can say, “Hey, well, it’s nice to meet you. I don’t suppose you could mention my name to the manager?”
These three tips should help you get a leg up and get your resume seen by the hiring manager. It’s up to you to make that resume amazing and get the job.