Hmmm… I’ve sent out hundreds of résumés and I still haven't heard back from any companies yet. WTF… Do people actually read my résumé? What do I have to do to make it good enough? Or maybe they didn’t receive it and I should submit it again. The short answer to these questions are: Yes, they did receive your résumé and they did skim it. Is your résumé good enough? Maybe, maybe not. It's all relative to hundreds of others they received, right? However, one thing is for sure: Your chances of actually landing a job through just the traditional method of submitting résumés are (unfortunately) very, very slim.
If my résumé is the only deciding factor that separates me from other applicants, then it better be damn good. So you spend countless hours trying to create a perfect résumé that will help you to stand out from the crowd. You search endlessly for guides on how to create the best résumé, you use a thesaurus to search for impressive sounding synonyms, you add a little extra here and there to juice up your experience, and you carefully design the whole resume to make yourself look appealing. This is great – it shows that you have put in effort and are determined to get the job!
Problem: You are not the only one who is eagerly looking for a job. Companies receive hundreds of applications for every single job opening. For bigger companies, they receive thousands. Due to the large volume of applicants, companies RARELY spend over a minute reviewing each application. Some companies find that it's just too tedious to review every single application, so they use computer screening software to do preliminary eliminations for them. These software solutions will check for key words, grammar errors, relevant skills, etc. When a mistake is spotted, or when you don’t satisfy certain requirements, your application is automatically eliminated before a real human person has a chance to lay eyes on it. Is this a fair selection method? It's not ideal. Maybe you actually meet all the requirements, but didn't express it with the key words that the software was looking for. How does the software know whether you are REALLY qualified?
To companies, you are just words on a piece of paper. Your only ticket to getting the job is based on the piece of paper you submit, your résumé. Does your résumé fully reflect how qualified you are for the job? Do you look as good on your résumé as you do in person? You might be the perfect candidate for a job, but how do you showcase that with just a piece of paper? In the end, job application processes become a writing competition, and the good writers with extremely polished résumés take the jobs.
While you can still manage to get a job through the traditional method of resume submission, this method is ineffective and outdated.
Extended Reading: How to effectively land a job.
Think outside the box.