Great Resumes Fast » Job Search » Defining the Selection Process – What Happens After You Submit Your Resume

Have you ever wondered what happens to your resume after you submit it?  Many job seekers spend hours every day shipping resumes off to prospective employers without an idea of what happens after they’ve hit the send button.

Knowing what your resume goes through after it has been submitted is a mystery that many job seekers would like solved.  A recent CNN Money article explored the process that a resume goes through at one major company; let’s look at the steps involved after a resume leaves your hands.

The First Stage – Making It Past Technology

Whether you’ve submitted your resume to a recruiter or directly to an employer, it will likely face some form of technology before it is thoroughly reviewed by a human’s eyes.  The technology typically uses a variety of criteria to help filter candidates.

For instance, a company might only want resumes from people who have five to eight years of experience with “public relations management”.  If this key phrase isn’t on a person’s resume, the computer system will not rank it high—or it could simply immediately reject it.

It’s critical to keep this in mind as you filter out which information to include in your resume and personalize it for each position.  The best way to ensure you don’t miss this boat is to search for keywords like this in the job posting and include them in your resume.

The Second Stage – Initial Human Confirmation

If your resume makes it through the technological test, then you may receive some form of human confirmation.  In the CNN article, the confirmation came in the form of a phone call meant to ensure that the information posted on the resume was accurate.  As a former recruiter, I used to call this the preliminary phone screen or prescreen interview.

During the call, the recruiter/company representative also gets a feel for whether the candidate seems to be a good fit for the company by exploring salary expectations, relocation willingness and job travel capabilities … or whatever may be the most pertinent information that could potentially weed out the candidate as quickly as possible to narrow down the recruiter’s search results.

The candidate could also expect this communication to come in the form of an e-mail.  I always loved communication via e-mail; if someone had a really standout resume, then I would just e-mail the candidate to set up a time to either:  a) chat over the phone, or b) schedule the initial in-person interview.

Stage 3 – Moving Higher Up

If you seem to be a good fit for the company initially, the recruiter or other company representative will likely send your resume to the hiring manager or other person in charge of making the ultimate decision.  At this point, the resume is placed in the “interview pile” for the person’s supervisor or the key hiring manager—and the interviewing process begins.

What If I Don’t Get a Call?

If you don’t receive a call or e-mail beyond the “thank you for applying” communication, it’s possible that the company decided at some point during the resume’s journey that you are not a good match.  That may have been a result of your not having the appropriate keywords contained in the resume for the computer scan to rank your resume high enough to warrant a review … or it could be that the first human eye giving it a scan couldn’t find what they wanted … or perhaps someone thought the resume was a mess.  It’s also possible, with thousands of people applying, that you just got misplaced in the shuffle.  Some companies are likely to keep your resume in its database in case you’re a good fit for another position down the line.

However, if you know that your skills, qualifications, experience, accomplishments, etc. are a perfect fit for a position (a 100% match) and you didn’t receive a call, I encourage you to take extra steps to be noticed.

The CNN Money article revealed that companies also spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, sifting through candidates in hopes of finding individuals they would like to recruit—even if they aren’t looking for work.  This is another critically important reason why if you’re not on LinkedIn—for some employers—you just don’t exist.

For additional tips and advice on resumes and cover letters, follow @GreatResume or visit our blog.


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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!

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