Every time I speak to a PR group about job hunting, the audience gets most demonstrative about their frustration with the job boards. It seems that each person has had the same experience: They email out a resume for a job which they feel they are PERFECT for, and they never hear back. Not even an automatic reply…nothing.
I am going to tell you why.
Sitting in front of a computer screen in the cubicle of the company that placed that ad is a person in HR. She's working on lots of job openings… for computer analysts, salespeople, accounts receivable, communications… Every hour or so she hits a certain key to download the 20 or 30 resumes that were posted to her mailbox. She may scan through them quickly but more likely she puts them through a resume mill where they are scanned for key words. This process eliminates a significant number of resumes. If she’s looking for someone who knows C++, only those resumes that say C++ ever make make it to that coveted space under her nose. If they’re looking for someone who does “media relations” your perfect resume probably wont be seen if you say you “develop relationships with the press.”
So here’s my advice: dumb it down. If the job description calls for crisis communications, say “crisis communications”. Even if you devote a paragraph of your resume to your award winning program that turned around a potentially explosive situation – they still need to see those words “crisis communications” somewhere on the page. It's impossible to find the perfect candidate by manually going through dozens or hundreds of resumes. Every HR Specialist today makes use of software that scans and extracts key words from the resume and then organizes it for search and retrieval. Impersonal, YES, but vital given the high-velocity nature of today’s lean, mean and demanding organizational climate.
It’s impossible for HR Specialists to understand the subtleties of so many different jobs. So make it easy for them. Tell them what you do, in their own terms and your response rate is sure to increase.