How to Bypass the Resume Black Hole in Your Search For A Marketing Job In DC

by Susan Mullin

Navigating the Resume Black Hole | TorchLight Hire

Unlike years past, when you’re applying for new jobs, many of today’s companies require candidates to submit their resumes online. Most applications happen on an online applicant tracking system (ATS) or through an online job board. Both of which can feel very similar to tossing your application into a ‘black hole.’ You usually don’t know what happens to it after it’s submitted or if it even parsed correctly into the database.

However, in some cases, you can avoid this approach to job hunting. With a bit of diligence, you may be able to discover a person associated with an opportunity or learn about openings that aren’t widely advertised. This can give you a chance to bypass the black hole. Here are some tips to help you do that.


Surveys suggest that 70 to 85 percent of people landed in their current positions thanks to good, old-fashioned networking. Networking can help you avoid resume black holes, increasing the odds that a person influential to the job selection process will see your application instead of it being lost in an applicant tracking system.

Attend networking events

Specifically, look for networking events where representatives from your target company will be. This gives you the ability to seek them out, introduce yourself, and express your interest in the organization or the specific role. When you approach a manager at the company, don’t make the conversation all about you and the job. Instead, give a quick elevator speech and listen to theirs in return. Ask questions about the business and their role, to help create a dialogue. Be enthusiastic when you hear their responses and segue into how you would be interested in working for the organization. You can mention that you recently saw a vacancy announcement and see if they can provide additional insight.

If you make a positive first impression, the company’s representative may invite you to send your resume directly to them, letting you bypass the automated systems. And, you gain a valuable point of contact at the company that may serve you well in the future.

Find opportunities

Not sure if a representative from a specific organization will be attending an event? Take the time to visit events like Network After Work and continue to expand your network within the community. Along with Network After Work, EventBrite lists a range of networking events throughout DC ranging from Career Fairs to an MBA Forte Forum for Women.

Make it a habit to subscribe to these feeds of events to continuously update yourself with information and insight on local events to meet like-minded professionals and individuals that could help you take the next step in your career.

Do a Bit of Digging

Another option for bypassing the resume black hole is to do some research. When you see an interesting opportunity, get online, and try to identify the hiring manager or a recruiter who may be working to fill the job.

Social media can be an excellent resource, as many managers provide details about their position or their company on social media. At times, you can infer who the hiring manager may be and can reach out directly on the platform.

Again, it’s best not to begin by asking about the vacancy. Instead, introduce yourself and let the person know what about the company catches your interest. Consider asking them questions that allow them to talk about themselves, their role, the organization, and their career. You can also review their posts to see if they covered a topic that can serve as a jumping-off point for a conversation, allowing you to build a rapport before asking about the job.

Connect with a Recruiter

Many companies use outside recruiters and recruitment firms like TorchLight to fill vacancies. If you connect with a recruiter, you may be able to avoid standard approaches to submitting job applications.

Since a recruiter assesses a candidate’s skills and experiences before making a referral to the hiring company, you can speak with them candidly about your qualifications as well as your interest in opportunities such as the position you are hoping to land. If they feel you are a good fit, they may be able to share your resume with the hiring manager directly, effectively bypassing the resume black hole.

All of the techniques above can be incredibly effective when you want to apply for a position without using standard application processes. However, even if you are directed back to a job board, you’ve formed a stronger connection with those involved in the hiring decisions. This increases the odds that they will recognize your name or details when your resume comes in, which may make it easier to land an interview. The first step in getting a new job, after all, is bypassing the resume black hole.

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Posted in , Job Search Tips, Resume Tips