Where does your resume go and what does it do?

Charlie Meek

Charlie Meek

For the last 20 years, Charlie Meek has led creative and brand marketing …


So you are looking for a job - you write a long list of items you want to include in your resume and then once you have that together you apply for lots of jobs. After all this is a numbers game and you will get noticed eventually, right?

Wrong! You need to work smart and understand what happens to that resume once you apply for that job to truly put yourself in the driving seat and make your resume stand out to a hiring manager.

New figures show that when a hiring manager is viewing resumes they more or less scan for around 6 seconds to decipher if you are suitable or not. But let’s not forget that you need to get to that stage first. Many applications will not even get to the hiring manager and below we will tell you why.

The journey your resume takes after you apply?

Here’s what happens to your resume once you apply to that dream job:

  1. Most times your resume will be uploaded into an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) that the company that is hiring uses to manage the hiring process and filter applications.
  2. The ATS will then parse your resume and look for key criteria and for specific keywords that the hirer would find beneficial.
  3. If you don’t have the skills that match, have a complicated resume, not in the format that the ATS can read then you are out of luck. While your resume might be a “great read” the ATS may think you are not suitable. Your resume will just stay in the system and your resume will not even get into the hiring pile.
  4. If your resume does pass the initial ATS test you will be added to the list of applicants to review, the ATS will add these to be reviewed by a human hiring manager.
  5. It is possible that the Hiring manger now has 50 resumes to review. They all look the same and this is where you need to grab someones attention.
  6. Remember at this stage you have around 6 seconds to impress so tailor you resume to have the right keywords to match the job description but also to put yourself in the hirer’s shoes.

Your foot in the door

One tip is to analyse what a resume is for? This is not to get you the job but to secure the interview. That is when you can bring your personality to the table. But your resume needs to get you there.

Also try and make things a little different. Don’t match your resume exactly to your Linkedin profile. they will probably check your profile and will want to see some originality.

Tailor each application and resume to the job description itself as this will definitely help getting your resume to the top of the ATS pile.