Not Your Grandparent’s Application Process
As technology has evolved, it has dramatically changed how we apply to jobs. Job boards like AgCareers.com would have never existed 25 years ago. When you were looking for a job, you opened up the newspaper classifieds or went by the main office to turn in an application. Now you use web sites and e-mail your resume. Some companies use an online screening tool to assess candidates before they lay eyes on the candidate or their resume. With so many new techniques, the more you know, the better you can navigate through them to the internship or the first job of your dreams.
HOW IS AN ONLINE RESUME DIFFERENT?
Job boards like AgCareers.com and the ones available to you through your school will have the capability to include your resume in their database. Having your resume in a searchable database is one example of an online resume.
Some databases will allow you to upload a particular file type like Word, PDF or Publisher, the most common of these being Microsoft Word. Other databases will ask you to copy and paste your resume into their system. In those situations your resume may not maintain all of the formatting like bolding, bulleting, and font size. This is nothing to be alarmed about since most employers are only viewing your resume based on a particular keyword they’ve searched for and where that appears in your resume. This brings up another point to keep in mind for online resumes: Keywords.
Other outlets for posting your online resume can be via social media pages or personal web sites. Regardless of where you post your resume, two important things to remember are: know where you have it posted so you don’t sound shocked when contacted by a potential employer, and keep it updated. Information on the web can be easily dated to show when it was last modified. Employers typically don’t pay much attention to resumes that haven’t been updated in three to six months.
By using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or Talent Management System (TMS), companies are better suited to manage resumes and applicant data in a central location. The ATS technology is built into their corporate web site and will include an area to manage job postings and applicants. These systems can integrate with job boards like AgCareers.com to allow the companies to seamlessly post jobs from their corporate site to the job board. As the applicant in the final stages of applying for a particular position, you’ll be transitioned to a company-branded site to supply information and your resume.
The technology provided by ATS systems allows companies to sort applicants more quickly. Applicants who have pre-identified skills can be promptly graduated to the next step in the process. ATS systems can also identify if a jobseeker has applied for a particular job but may be better qualified for another position they may have available in the future. This is possible by examining qualifying questions that applicants answer as they fill out information on the company web site.
There are also ATS systems with built-in testing systems that put applicants through a pre-qualifying questionnaire to determine what strengths and qualities the applicant can bring to the role compared to other applicants. As companies continue to look for tools that allow them to reduce the time it takes to fill needs within their organizations, we’ll continue to see more ATS systems and other technologies for jobseekers to use.
Depending on the company—some may still move that fast but when there can be forty plus applicants to consider, compared to maybe ten in the “good ole days,” it may take longer for the feedback to come.
Some companies post jobs and as applicants apply they review their information and contact them within a day or two. Other companies may wait until the closing date on their job, and then spend a day or more going through all of the applicants at once. Some companies will contact each person and confirm that they received their information and where the company is in the process of filling the role; some may contact each applicant and let them know if they will move on to the next round or not, and others may only contact those they intend to pursue further.
So while we’d like for the application process to be more like “Survivor” or “American Idol,” where the most we have to wait to see who gets voted off is a week, in the job search process it may take a little longer.
The way we look for jobs will only continue to change. New technologies are being invented everyday and some of those will impact how you find, apply and interview for your next job.
Hopefully after reading this article you feel a little more “in the know” about the processes recruiters are using to evaluate you for what could be the job of your dreams!