Anyone that has ever found themself job hunting has probably experienced at least a brief period of resume obsession. It’s natural to over analyze the tiniest details, wanting to make sure we don’t overlook some error or miss out on a great opportunity due to a silly mistake. While this instinct can be helpful, almost everyone takes it too far. It’s easy to become neurotic about the state of your resume, and to worry too much about minor details.
Some resume questions I’ve answered many times are:
What font face/size should I use?
Should my bulletpoints end with a period or not?
What size should the margins be?
Should I say “References available upon request”?
The correct answer to most of these questions is… it doesn’t matter. The reason it doesn’t matter is because it’s just a tiny part of your resume, and your resume doesn’t matter either.
As we discussed in The Resume Black Hole, applying for jobs can be stressful and disheartening. Often, it feels like you’re doing a lot of work but not making any progress. I think part of this feeling of hopelessness stems from the fact that many people just don’t really understand the process a large software organization uses to hire people.
Today, we’ll talk about all the key players involved in moving you through the hiring pipeline from a resume in someone’s inbox to a new hire at Day 1 Orientation. I’ll cover the process in as much detail as I can, placing special emphasis on the role of the hiring manager (HM). I’ll be focusing on this role for two reasons:
The HM is ultimately the essential decision maker in terms of whether or not you get a job, with few exceptions. For someone looking for a new job, this person is very important to you.
I’m an HM at Uber, so I have quite a bit of experience in this area and can confidently speak to the motivations and considerations of the role.
I should note that I am going to draw largely from my experiences at Google and Uber. Based on my background (and tips from my friends that work at places like Facebook, Github, etc.), I can tell you that the process I describe below is common at many top tech companies. However, there will be some differences, and certainly smaller or non-tech organizations may utilize slightly different interviewing and hiring processes.
In Part 1, we talked about what the resume black hole is, and why people end up there. If you haven’t already read that, go check it out now.
In this post, I’m going to let you in on a huge secret that will (hopefully) change the way you think about applying for jobs, and will definitely improve your success rate if you incorporate it into the way you submit applications.
As I said in part 1, we need to let go of the buckshot, and build ourselves a laser. But, how do we build a laser? It turns out, almost every employer out there has handed you the schematics to assemble the perfect weapon to land an interview. We just have to learn to recognize it and take advantage.
If you skim any popular career subreddit, you’ll see a common pattern.
“I’ve applied to ~10 jobs a day since May and I’ve only gotten 4 callbacks.”
“It took me 316 days, over 200 jobs applications…”
“Over the past few months, I’ve applied to over 100 jobs (a conservative estimate)…”
These are all actual quotes mined from Reddit. What do all of these people have in common? They’re wearing the number of jobs they’ve applied to, and had no success with, as a badge of honor. They aren’t getting any interviews, despite many applications. In fact, they’re mostly getting no responses at all. In other words, they’ve all become trapped in the resume black hole.