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Getting your résumé noticed

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in Hiring,Human Resources

A job recruiter posted a position for an executive administrative assistant on a Friday. By Monday, she had 400 applicants.

“I took the job down on Monday and started going through résumés,” says Dionna Keels, a senior corporate recruiter for a large privately owned company in Atlanta.  

It’s never been easier to apply for a job online, yet résumé-screening software is designed to filter out candidates who aren’t a perfect fit. So to make it into the hiring manager’s inbox, you need to know a few tricks:

Use the right keywords on your résumé and in your cover letter.

Paul Forster, co-founder and CEO of job search site, recommends listing specific skills: “Word, PowerPoint and Excel.”

• Be amenable when answering questionnaires. You’ll need to get 100% on a pre-screening questionnaire. Keels estimates that at least 50% of applicants to the jobs she posts are screened out right off the bat.

• Make contact to set yourself apart. “Sending me a message through LinkedIn helps differentiate job-seekers from the mass of applicants,” says Keels.

• Move fast because timing is key. If a post is more than a few days old, it may already be filled.

For Keels’ job posting, if you didn’t apply over the weekend, you weren’t in the running. “Typically we go in chronological order,” she says. “Once we find three to four strong people we’ll start with them.”

— Adapted from “The job application black hole,” Jessica Dickle,

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