Not a Robot? Your Job Application Might Suggest Otherwise!

July 11th, 2013 | Articles, Resume | No Comments »


Do you crank out job applications by the dozens and still find your inbox empty? Maybe it’s because you’re acting like a job application robot. Now, you may claim to be human because you lack a submission clicking servo arm and don’t live in constant fear of EMP discharges. Irrelevant. Hiring managers may still question whether or not they’re dealing with an automaton if you always send out a stock, unchanging resume and cover letter. So, to make sure you pass the job search equivalent of the Voight-Kampf android identification test, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Stay Away From Clones

If your resume or cover letter reads like a mass produced pamphlet, it will be among the first applications wiped away by screening software or an experienced hiring manager. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the gyroscope every time. Depending on the company and type of position, you can often use a previous resume as a starting point. After you’ve fully read the job requirements, use your judgment to creatively trim and amend your job credentials – you know, the way a human would. Anything that doesn’t apply to the job (skills, experiences, or hobbies) should be eliminated from your final draft.

Assimilate the Right Keywords

By sending off a generic resume or cover letter, you run the risk of sounding like C-3PO: an oblivious chatterbox who skirts along relevant topics (on occasion) but primarily rambles without the audience in mind. Don’t be that clueless. Most job advertisements give you a direct feed to what you have to say. If you have experience with one of the key required skills, you need to explicitly state it in your resume or cover letter. At the same time, you need to avoid spitting out keywords like a spambot. Mindless repetition to boost your keyword density will not convince anyone you’re flesh & blood.

Have a Personable Touch

Maybe the best way to prove you’re more than circuits & wires is to add a personalized touch to your application. Instead of using the lifeless “To whom it may concern,” do a bit of research (by exploring the web or calling the company), find out the hiring manager’s name, and address all correspondence to that person. Nothing switches off a hiring manager faster than an impersonal greeting. Auto dialers already do that and they never breach the five second mark.

Another way to distinguish yourself as an intelligent life form is to integrate company specifics into your cover letter. That way, you can show the company you’re aware of what you’re doing and not just blindly following some preordained directive.

Though these practices may limit the number of applications you can churn out in a day, the tradeoff is greater efficiency. By showing you have a soul, not a serial number, you’ll increase your chances of getting to meet a hiring manager person to person, proving once and for all that you are the human you claim to be.

by James Walsh

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