Does Your Resume Match the Jobs You are Posting For?

socksSomeone reached out to me today frustrated that he had applied to multiple job postings with limited results. When this occurs, the knee-jerk reaction is to blame the resume for the lack of responses, but the resume is only effective if you have a strong search strategy to accompany the document.

After further examination, I uncovered that there are 3 major flaws in this person’s posting strategy.

  1.  Applying for positions in a geography where you do not reside. Employers are skeptical of applicants from geographies other than the one where the opportunity is. Many aren’t interested in paying relocation expenses and with so many applicants to chose from, it’s easy to eliminate someone who doesn’t reside in the same geography. If you are planning to relocate, make this clear on both your resume and cover letter so the employer knows you plan to settle down in that area. This strategy won’t guarantee that you will be considered, but it can improve your chances.
  2. Having less experience than the job specification requires. Hiring managers screening applicants who have responded to a job posting are generally not that flexible on this dimension. If they say that you need a minimum of 3-5 years of experience for the job and you have 2, they probably won’t pay much attention to your resume because they are bound to have dozens or even hundreds of applicants with the number of years of experience they are asking for.
  3. Lacking the technical expertise specified on the job posting. Again, employers who are screening applicants based on a job posting are looking for specific competencies and if they are not listed on your resume, it is easy for them to pass you over. 

The bottom line is that employers who post on job boards are looking for exact matches. They are often using scanning software to screen applicants for geography, years of experience, and technical competencies. If you can’t match the majority of the requirements listed on the job spec, don’t bother applying; it’s not a good use of your time or the employer’s.

In general, the statistics around the number of people in search who land their jobs through job boards is quite low…somewhere between 2-10%. Spend only a small amount of time on the job boards and dedicate more of your time and energy to meeting people who can help you get in front of the right decision makers for your search. You want people to get to know you…the whole person; not just the resume. Once you establish a relationship with an influencer or decision maker, you can often move past the rigidity of a job spec and be considered for positions where there is not an exact match.

Make the Most of the Job Posting Process


Many job seekers find the job posting boards enticing because they appear to be an effective method of search and the opportunities posted seem plentiful. But the reality is that a meager 3-5% of candidates in search find their positions through the posting boards. While I don’t recommend spending countless hours on-line scanning the boards, I do recommend leveraging the information you gain from the postings to create a more efficient and strategic search plan. Here are a few ways to accomplish just that.


  1. Only post your resume for the positions with a real match. Don’t expect “I’m a fast learner” to work when you’re competing against a large applicant pool.
  2. If you find a good match on a posting board, don’t just zap your resume out into cyberspace and hope for the best. Go directly to the company’s website to see if you can post there as well. Review all open positions to see if you can identity growth trends or other changes  within the company.
  3. Review job postings to gain perspective on the compensation for particular positions. Validate the information you gather by comparing it to information from recruiters and colleagues. Having this knowledge will make you a more effective negotiator when it is time to discuss the compensation associated with a job offer.