The Ugly Truth about Online Job Applications – Part 1

Woman typing and looking at a computer display.At last, you are ready to roll, and now it’s time to apply for that big job.  You diligently search all the online job sites and position postings at the companies in your field.  Although those online applications can take longer to complete than a millionaire’s IRS 1040 tax form, you carefully fill out each one, making sure every required field has just the right entry.  Finally, you attach your resume and cover letter, and click the Submit button.  Done at last!  Then you wait… and wait… and wait yet some more.  Days, then weeks pass.  Nothing.  Not even an automated and insincere “thanks, but no thanks” response.  It’s like your online application and attachments simply went into a cyber black hole.  What happened?

Congratulations!  You just experienced the frustration felt by many, if not most, job applicants today who are forced to apply for positions using an online Applicant Tracking System (ATS).  An ATS is designed to electronically sift through all the job applicants for a position and identify only those few who the software believes is the best fit based on parameters established by the recruiter.  Although your resume and cover letter may have been written with the quality worthy of a Pulitzer Prize, it doesn’t matter; odds are, human eyes never even saw your application materials.

Say what?  Don’t people in human resources (HR) departments even read applications anymore?  What is going on? Continue reading

Is That Career Path a Good Choice for the Future? How Do You Find Out?

A graphical character walking on a path approaching three possible routes to follow.Quite a few years ago, a friend told me he was going to change careers.  Like many individuals, he had a job, but wanted a career; he wanted to acquire a marketable skill which would serve him for many years to come.  In fact, he had already signed up at a local college and taken some classes, and was well on his way.

I was so happy for him!  You could just see the excitement in his face and hear it in his voice.  Naturally, I asked what field he had decided to pursue.  “Drafting,” he said proudly, “I really like drawing and there will always be a need for drafting.”

“Wow, that’s great!” I said, “Which software will you be learning?”  At the time, the use of computer-aided design (CAD) drafting software packages like AutoCAD® and MicroStation® were entering workplaces at light speed and quickly taking over the task of traditional drafting which involved manually drawing at a drafting table.  “Oh, I’m not learning any software; besides, I don’t like computers,” he said, “I’m learning to do drafting by hand.”

My heart sank.  Because of my experience with technology, I absolutely knew drafting tables would soon go the way of dinosaurs and cassette tapes.  I certainly didn’t want to rain on his parade, but I mentioned again how CAD was the wave of the future and this was a real opportunity for him to get in on ground floor of something new. Continue reading