Job hunting has become considerably more convenient post-Internet. Prospective employees can find out who’s hiring, as well as figure out job requirements and submit resumes, with the click of a button.
But, as with most other things made easier with technology, this electronic advancement comes with its own set of rules and concerns.
If you felt like your resume was in a black hole when you sent it to the company via snail mail, you hadn’t seen anything yet. Many online job databases generate an automatic “thank you for applying” message, but in equally as many cases, the job seeker may never hear another peep. He or she may never know that the application was received — and it’s possible that it wasn’t.
“I’ve heard stories of hiring managers (meeting applicants after the fact) and saying ‘You’re perfect! How come I never got your resume?’ ” said Liz Lynch, career expert and author of “Smart Networking: Attract a Following in Person and Online” (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).
According to Lynch, online applicants may feel like they’re at the mercy of the database, but there are steps they can take to increase their odds of being noticed. The best option is to find a friend, acquaintance or even a friend of a friend who works at the company and can physically walk your resume to human resources department.
For job seekers without a connection to the company, all is not lost. The key to making sure your resume and cover letter actually make it to HR from an online database, Lynch said, is to use keywords and phrases from the job description and required skills. Since many databases prescreen applications based on keywords, the more your words match what the position is looking for, the more likely it is that your application will reach an actual human being.
“If your resume lists ‘social networking’ under your skills but the job posting says ‘social media,’ change it,” she said. “People do a lot of copy and pasting, and they don’t customize.”
Finally, if you’re going to use the Web for your job search, go all-out, advises Lynch. Beef up LinkedIn profiles, as potential employers may question the motivation of job seekers who aren’t actively using every tool at their disposal.
And don’t let job posting websites do all the work. A friend of Lynch’s was following the founder of Mashable on Twitter when he tweeted a job opening she ended up applying for.
“Have a list of 10 companies you’d love to work for and set up Google alerts for them, follow them on Twitter, and stay up-to-date on them to seek out potential job opportunities,” Lynch said.