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Tom Cairns


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News you can use from the job search front!

Wednesday 29 August 2012 at 3:06 pm

I have a friend who is in job transition.  His company was acquired by another company and like a lot of acquisitions to the victor goes the jobs.   It was a situation where the two companies did things differently and my friend's job did not exist in the new company.  In any event, the good news for my friend is when the rumors started circulating that his company was in play he began preparing for a transition.  Once the sale was announced and he knew he was not going to be picked up he was able to hit the ground running and a week after the acquisition had his first job interview.  He has since discovered or confirmed a few things about the job search process that I believe are worth sharing.

1.  Many companies have upgraded the qualifications they are seeking.  For example, requiring a bachelor's degree where none was required before.   That means people like Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, David Geffen, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie, Barry Diller, Ansel Adams, Ashley Qualls, Debbi Fields, Frank Lloyd Wright, my friend and a whole list of senior executives I have personally worked with need not apply.  Why, because they too do not have a college degree.  The good news is there are a lot of high paying jobs that don't require a college degree.  Check out the 25 Highest Paying Jobs - No Bachelor's Degree by Anthony Balderrama.   The bad news is that more and more companies are setting qualifications that are meant to attract talent but in actuality repels qualified talent.

2.  Many companies are demanding exact matches to their job requirements.  This may not seem new except it is much easier to do with Automated Tracking Systems (ATS) because it enables companies to fine tune their filters to the point where only the perfect candidate emerges assuming such a person exists.  For example, you apply for a regional vice president position.  It is something you are doing now or have done before except your job title was a vice president.  You could be rejected by the ATS that was seeking regional vice president experience. 

3.  You submitted your resume/application online but you are not sure it went through or the system crashes.   One company told my friend they receive as many as 1.5 million resumes overwhelming their system and it crashes.  Someone once said what are my chances of winning big in Las Vegas?  The answer is between slim and none.  The same is true about getting through an Automated Tracking System.  Slim to none or at best 1.5 million to 1.  However, there is a way to improve your chances and increase the probability that your resume will get through.  

First, do your best to make sure your resume matches as many of the requirements for the job description truthfully as possible.  There are lots of resources available to assist you in doing this.  I found one on  In the past matching 80% of the job requirements was sufficient but now I am not so sure.  You need to pay attention to the subtleties such as job titles versus job functions. 

I told my friend not to trust the electronic system and he has done a great job of finding people inside the organization where he is applying.  He has made cold calls until he found someone who would follow up.  This has allowed him to ask about the job requirements such as a bachelor's degree and if there was any flexibility.  What my friend is discovering is it that people are responding and being helpful which makes me believe they know how tough it is to get past the ATS gauntlet and anyone who does they are willing to help them. 


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