The Dead Zone – Why 97% of resumes are never read

Feb 25 2008 in Featured, Job Search Strategy, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

Would it shock you to learn that only a small minority of resumes ever get seen by human eyes?

Companies have had to run lean and mean, and have trimmed overhead over the past 10 years. One way companies have kept costs low is to replace clerical jobs with technology. That included the HR function.

When you send your resume for a job, your natural thought is that it’s like a personal letter, especially if you’ve spent time crafting a personalized cover letter. You think “Of course it will be read”, it’s a personal letter.

How did you feel when you were “perfect for a job”, but never got a reply back even indicating receipt? It’s happened to all of us.

When the majority of resumes started coming to companies electronically, it dramatically impacted the HR function in 2 ways:

  1. HR was now flooded with resumes, many of them without the necessary skills sought
  2. Technology was inexpensively available to pre-screen text files. Now it became easy for HR departments to only read the top 20 resumes in a key word search, and cherry pick the ones to send to the hiring manager.

So how have you responded? Did you change your job search strategies, to adapt to company’s hiring procedures?

Sadly, most job seekers haven’t. Most candidates are still using a paper resume strategy in a digital age.

Why? It’s easier – less work per resume. It feels more productive to send 100 resumes in a night, even if you gain fewer interviews as a result. Finally, it’s within most job seekers’ comfort zone, because it’s what you’re are used to.

So if most use outdated methods that result in a poor chance of interviews…..

… what does that do for the chances of those who prepare customized search optimized resumes?

It gives you an unfair advantage, while putting 97% of the old school resumes into the Dead Zone.


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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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