August 9, 2012

We recently (August 8th 2012…”How come No-one…No-one has called me”) wrote about one of the most common reasons online job applications don’t get selected if that employer determines one as not fully qualified. As a follow up, here are some of the other reasons you may not get that all important call, even if you are “fully qualified” for that dream job.

You haven’t provided the right KEYWORDS to ‘tickle the screener’s fancy’. Assume that the first attention your application will receive will be from either an automated screening program, or a junior employee (who likely will not be an expert recruiter, or familiar with your field of expertise). In either case, your application will be assessed using a rigid set of rules, one of which is to search for the presence of certain very specific ‘keywords’.

Typical keywords usually include the job title (if its easily recognisable within the industry – some companies however use very unusual titles which are not always easily recognisable), functional area such as Logistics, Planning, Category Management, Vendor Management, Replenishment etc.), required skills, the names of specific tools (SAP inventory control, Ariba, eProcurement, WMS), and specific professional certifications (PMAC, SCMP, CPSM, CPM, PMP, P.Eng, etc). If a list of required skills is present, make sure you list them in the same order so as to make the screener’s job simpler.  Go one step further and include terminology that you KNOW is consistent with the demands of the position, just in case it was left out of the job posting (either on purpose or by accident).

You left it too late to apply. As soon as you become aware of an opportunity, don’t think about it – you need to review it, decide if you will apply, and do so immediately. Assume that applications will be processed in the order in which they are received, because they frequently are. If the employer has already identified the half dozen candidates they are seeking, you could be “wait-listed” – or dropped entirely. Worse yet, you could miss a deadline – don’t assume your application will be processed as soon as you submit it. Applying early will maximise your chances of being selected for the next round. Having said that, you need to check back to make sure the job posting hasn’t changed, or been removed, since you responded.

Your resume isn’t clean and readable. Getting too fancy with your resume’s format could cause problems. You won’t get any points for having an “attractive” resume – in fact, it could hurt you if complicated formatting “confuses” the screener program. Furthermore, many hiring authorities are irritated of overly elaborate resumes – they would prefer that you simply present the information they need to see, in a format which makes it easy for them to find. Accomplishment based resumes are always better than functional.

Your application is inconsistent with your online footprint. These days, having a LinkedIn profile is a requirement – if you don’t have one, we highly recommend you set one up as soon as possible. Argentus has plenty of blog posts to help you build a great profile. Having said that, make sure that any information you provide to any internet site is accurate and up to date and definitely not embellished, and is consistent with any information you submit when applying for a job. This means LinkedIn, but also includes Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, any blogs you publish, and any professional sites such as Institute for Supply Management or through the PMAC or to groups you belong.  

Take it for granted that everyone does Google searches on everyone these days so anomalies will appear quite easily. You should assume that the employer will check to learn as much about you as possible at some point in the hiring process so be a straight shooter. Scour your site pages to make sure everything is consistent, and update these pages whenever anything changes. 

Follow this advice, it makes good sense. These good basic tools should increase your chances when applying to a job posted online. Having said that, recognise that it is inherently an approach with a low probability of success. Your best strategy is to combine online applications with other methods, including personal referrals, networking through LinkedIn with people in your industry, joining groups and getting really good representation by a Search Firm within your area of expertise. Choose Argentus for Procurement, Retail Executive roles, Supply Chain, Logistics and Change Management in Contract as well as permanent staffing. Need a CFO or an IT Professional there are better solutions.








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