Job Search Resource “Disappears”

Quite sometime ago, I did a post about a job search resource called Preptel, which aimed to help job seekers prepare their resumes for the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) gauntlet–making them keyword-rich, organizing sections appropriately, and so on. It seemed like a good resource at the time. Unfortunately, Preptel is about to disappear.

A recent announcement indicated that after three years of trying, the company has been unable to turn a profit and has reluctantly decided to call it quits. What does that mean for you as a current or future job seeker?

What Job Search Value Did Preptel Offer?

For starters, it focused our attention more sharply on the whole issue of keywords and the growing use of ATS as a tool to screen (weed-out) job seekers during the employment process. Unless you can identify a way to deliver your resume directly to a hiring manager, you could find yourself being ATS-screened and eliminated from consideration before you get to square one.

Preptel provided a tool for trying to align your resume with specific postings you planned to pursue. You could upload your resume and have Preptel compare it to the job posting, then receive an evaluation of how near (or far) it was from where it might need to be in order to get you considered as a candidate.

I did have a few reservations about some of the hoops you would have to jump through to get anywhere near a close match without having a resume that was ridiculously worded and hard for a human being to read, but I thought the potential usefulness outweighed that possible disadvantage. However, it now becomes a moot point, since Preptel will no longer be a job search resource.

Alternative Job Search Resources

You might ask what your alternatives are now that Preptel is disappearing. Some of those alternatives aren’t earth-shakingly new. For example:

  1. Review and revitalize your network before you need to start mining it for help in a job search. Hint: A good book to read on effective networking, although not new, is Harvey Mackay’s Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty.
  2. Avoid the impersonal ATS route if at all possible and practical. Get to know people where you want to work and become known by them as a potentially valuable asset. Use your network to develop desired connections you don’t already have.
  3. Research the companies whose postings have caught your attention and interest; then tailor your submission to each company’s requirements as much as you legitimately can. Assume that in this case you will run up against an ATS screening, so diligently identify and use all the relevant keywords and phrases you can to help you navigate that obstacle.
  4. Look at the areas where you might not be as strong as you’d like in comparison with what the company is asking for and determine whether (or how) you can try to upgrade your qualifications in those areas. Ideally, take steps to accomplish that before you embark on a full-scale job search.

No Substitute for Smart Job Search Techniques

Preptel and other high-tech proposals to help solve your job search challenges could never eliminate all the obstacles from your path, anyway. To think they could is self-delusional at best.

In today’s challenging employment market and the increasing reliance on technology to deal with it, you still need to use smart job search techniques that stem from who you are, what you can offer, what you view as your potential value and/or limitations, etc.. Also consider how much time, thought and energy you’re willing and able to put into all aspects of the job search.

Sorry, but no one said it would be easy–or if they did, they lied!

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