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