college.hollinsOne of the most common statements recent college graduates say is, “I don’t know why I can’t find a job, even if I went to a good college.” They seem confused when they send out 50 resumes, and only get 2 responses back. Why is this the case?

On the flip side, companies with large applicant pools almost universally struggle to find great applicants in a short period of time. Well there are many reasons for this. Let me talk about the top 2 that I have noticed while working for my company and being engaged in the hiring world.

For applicants, you’re a dime a dozen

For those of you who don’t know this idiom, it basically means there are many more of you out there. You are amongst the normal crowd and can be replaced easily. As harsh as this may sound, it is very true. Many college students believe once they graduate, they will have a job lined up immediately. What they don’t realize is, you and the other 1,606,000 students (Source: NACE Projections of Education Statistics to 2014) are thinking the same thing.

Not to mention the graduates who graduated before you years back who still have not found work. How do you stand out amongst such a large applicant pool? Now and days, the college degree is being looked at like a high school diploma. So many colleges are churning out graduates that is it causing a rise in not only students, but also school tuition. This is why many recent grads are applying to professional schools which offer specialized advanced degrees in professional fields which they hope will help them stand-out amongst the large group of applicants.

For companies, the resume is not enough

Companies are starting to realize that a piece of paper is not going to be the best representation of an applicant. The resume says what you used to be able to do, but what can the applicant do for me now? The rise in applicant pools have forced companies to sort through candidates by using many different techniques. The most popular of these is called, “The Resume Filter.” In short, computers select candidates based on certain key words that the HR person puts into the computer. College students are finding this out, and so they are learning which key words they should use so they can “game” the system, and hopefully stand-out to get the interview. There is a whole industry around this type of practice and it has caused applicants to think of their resume as a sort of marketing tool. Who can jazz theirs up the best? A recent article I read said that 70% or more applicants admit to putting false words on their resume in order to get hired. Ultimately, this resume fraud is causing companies 600 billion dollars annually in bad hires. (Source: Business Monthly)

So how can applicants stand-out amongst the competition and how can companies with the large applicant pools find that great applicant in a short period of time? For applicants, there are many little things that you can do that can make you look more professional and allow companies to get a better look at who you outside your resume. One is to create and update your Linkedin profile. Linkedin is a great source for the applicant to build professional relationships with employers and get great recommendations from people who used to work with you. Applicants can even inmail certain employers and build connections on their page which makes them look very professional. Little things like this will help an applicant gain “awareness” in the HR person’s eyes.

That being said, all these tools don’t show if the applicant’s skills are enough for the job, and if they have what it takes to do the job. This is why we created CareerStarter.com. With CareerStarter, companies are able to request from applicants, pre-interview based assessments in the form of video, audio, work-sample or all three. This helps the company get a better first impression of the candidate BEFORE they get the interview. It shows who is willing to put forth a little extra work to showcase their skills and prove they have what it takes for the job. All in all, the company and the applicant should think outside the box and do the extra things that most wont so they can get the job that most can’t.

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