Do you ever wonder what happens to your resume after you submit it to an employer online? Who is in charge of reviewing applicants for nurse practitioner positions? What kinds of things are they looking for? Online job applications are perhaps one of the more frustrating advances in career related technology. They leave nurse practitioners applying for positions without receiving any feedback as to if someone has received their submission much less as to why their resume was pitched into the virtual paper shredder.
A reader recently informed me she had heard that some employers use software systems to filter through resumes kicking out probable mismatches before HR even sees them. Interesting. I can see why this might be necessary for larger employers who receive thousands of applicants for a single job opening. But, I had never looked into these kinds of systems before so I decided to do a little research.
It turns out employers do use resume selection software to help soften their workload. In some cases, this is a result of the sheer volume of resumes received for a position. Starbucks, for example, received 7.6 million resumes for 65,000 open positions in a single year. In others, HR departments are going lean slashing staff and instead using automated, cost-effective programs to save time and money. Resumes that are poorly formatted, don’t contain keywords, or meet specific criteria are kicked out of these systems leaving nurse practitioners feeling (rightly so) that their application has been lost in cyberspace.
In most cases, these systems don’t replace human screeners completely. Typically, they are used for initial resume filtering. Remaining applications are then reviewed by a recruiter or other human resources staff member verifying that potential matches for a position are actually a good fit. This way, savvy nurse practitioners trying to beat the system are screened out. In other words, you can’t include white text containing additional keywords visible to the system but not the human eye to secure an interview.
The downfall of these programs is that they can’t read between the lines. If you’re fighting the uphill battle of finding your first nurse practitioner position, an automated screening system can’t interpret the ways your amazing personality and work ethic will overcome your lack of experience. It’s difficult to explain away a gap in employment to a computer monitor.
Later this week (or next…) I will discuss a few ways you can game the system (in a professional, ethical manner, of course!) to ensure your resume gets read by an actual human. Until then, these software programs are the perfect example of how it can be helpful to have an advocate in your job search.
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