When an employer says they will “keep your resume on file,” what does this mean to you as a candidate? This is a common recruitment practice that can leave job seekers feeling dismissed and rejected. Understand what this means and that it’s not necessarily a bad thing as we will explain.
First off, it’s generally understood that hiring managers are bombarded with hundreds of resumes from candidates who vary from not qualified to overqualified. They must review all these resumes, and then choose a small handful of candidates who meet the job criteria, and then decide how to proceed from there. It doesn’t matter if your resume was the first or the last to be received, all candidates must be treated equally. However, if you have sent your resume once they have stopped accepting resumes for the position, it may not even be considered since the top candidates may have already been selected.
At this point, you may have received a letter or email thanking you for applying, but announcing that they have decided to move forward with other candidates at this time. Your resume will be securely stored in a file with the other candidates, and will be grouped by area of skills for future consideration. Very often, hiring managers will refer back to these resumes as new positions are opened, so you could get called back in a few weeks or months.
If you are one of the lucky few who are called for an initial phone or in-person interview, congratulations – you have made the first big cut! This means you have met the general requirements of the job you have applied for on the company’s website or online. Your resume and qualifications are likely to have been reviewed more closely and even by a few people on the hiring team. Your resume is now in a much smaller group of candidates, and you are being considered for the job.
Once you have a phone interview, or have been asked to come in for an interview, you are in an even better position. This is your chance to impress the hiring manager and convince the company how your contribution can help their company succeed. If you have this interview and you then get a rejection letter, your resume will end up being stored with the job type and skills, and may even be passed around the company (in a secure file) to see if any other managers or teams may be interested in you. Sometimes, the candidate they did offer the job to initially is unable to accept the position, and the interview process starts all over from the beginning.
Remember, getting told that your resume will be kept on file is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a required human resource practice to hold the resumes and applications of qualified candidates on file for at least six months for EEOC guidelines (equal opportunity). Feel free to reapply for work as you see positions come open you are qualified for, and send in your resume at least once every six months, or as asked.
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