Getting Interviews: Personal Contact vs. The Black Hole of Resumes

If you’ve been submitting job applications online to countless job postings and not receiving any responses, you’re not alone. Many job seekers have experienced the effects of the “Black Hole of Resumes.” You submit your resume online to a general mailbox that has thousands of other resume submissions from multiple job postings. You expect that your resume and cover letter will be reviewed by a diligent human resource professional that will recognize your skills and call you for a job interview. Unfortunately, this is highly unlikely.

As companies lay off employees and cut costs in every way possible to mitigate the effects of the downturn in the economy, Human Resource departments are not an exception. HR professionals are experiencing layoffs as well and as a result HR departments are understaffed and overworked. To make matters worse, they are receiving more resumes than ever due to record high unemployment rates. So as you press the “submit” button on the application for your dream job, understand that up to 500 other candidates are applying to the same position with the hopes of being called for a job interview. Additionally, this job posting may be 1 of 20 job postings being managed by a recruiter. Therefore, the chances of your resume even being viewed are slim to none.

So how are some people getting multiple job interviews despite these odds and landing positions quickly? There are many factors that play into a successful job search and landing a job. There’s the format and effectiveness of your resume, the persuasiveness of your cover letter, how closely your resume fits the job description etc. One of the most often overlooked factors is having a personal connection with the recruiter. This can be done through a telephone call or email sent directly to the recruiter expressing your interest in the position, which greatly increases the chances of your resume being reviewed and receiving a call for a job interview.

As a job search consultant at who has helped many people get job opportunities quickly during these challenging times, I’ve found this to be one of my most successful tools in helping job seekers get job interviews. So, how is it done? How do you find the recruiter managing a job posting and get their contact information? The easiest and most effective way is to use your network to find someone who works at the company and ask them to research the job posting on their internal job site. Most mid-sized and enterprise companies post the hiring manager and recruiter’s name on internal job postings. If you don’t have a contact at the company, the alternative is to ask someone with a large network to help you acquire the information. We’ve noticed a sharp increase in the number of job seekers using our “Personal Contacts” service where we utilize our vast network to provide our clients with direct company contacts for their job postings of interest. Clients then send a personal note to the contact, and as a result, have had great success in getting responses and interviews.

The bottom line is, having personal contact with a recruiter gives you a tremendous edge in today’s job market where, on average, there are more than six candidates per job opening in the U.S. For other tips on how to work around the black hole of resumes or overcome other job search challenges, visit

Guest Expert:

Based in Sacramento, Calif., is a job search consulting firm, specializing in job coaching, resume makeovers, interview preparation, salary negotiation assistance and other personalized job search services. The company was founded by Jerome Young, a former marketing manager and layoff survivor, and regularly offers webinars for the unemployed, underemployed and recent college and business school graduates. For more information, visit or call 877-244-8502.

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