top of page

5 Reasons Why Your Resume Ends Up in the Black Hole of Online Applications

Applying for jobs has never been easier—or so it seems. With just a few clicks, you can send your resume to dozens of potential employers. Yet, for many job seekers, this convenience often leads to frustration as their applications seem to disappear into a black hole, never to be seen or heard from again. If you've ever wondered why your resume isn't getting the attention it deserves, you're not alone. Today, let’s explore five common reasons why your resume may end up in the dreaded "black hole" of online applications and offer actionable tips to help you break free.

1. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) Filters

The Problem:

Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to manage the overwhelming number of resumes they receive. These systems automatically scan resumes for specific keywords and knock out any resume for images, icons, etc.

The Solution:

To get past the ATS, tailor your resume for each job application. Use keywords from the job description and match them with your skills and experience. Make sure your resume is formatted in a way that is easily readable by these systems—avoid using headers, footers, or graphics that could confuse the ATS. However, don’t spend all day just adjusting keywords.

2. Irrelevant Experience and Skills

The Problem:

Employers are looking for candidates who are a good fit for the job. If your resume is filled with irrelevant experience or skills, it's likely to be discarded.

The Solution:

Focus on showcasing the experience and skills that are most relevant to the job you're applying for. Use bullet points to highlight your achievements and quantify them whenever possible. This will make it easier for hiring managers to see your value. If you are proud of an accomplishment that is not relevant to the job, omit it. Think “what is the interviewer looking for?”

3. Lack of a Cover Letter

The Problem:

Many job seekers underestimate the importance of a cover letter. A well-crafted cover letter can provide context to your resume and grab the employer's attention.

The Solution:

Always include a customized cover letter when submitting your application. If it is optional, submit one. Make sure it occupies less than half the page; if it fills the page, it won’t be read.

4. Poorly Written or Formatted Resume

The Problem:

My clients show me resumes that are either jam packed with too much information, or not enough demonstrable skills. The interviewer has 12-15 seconds to understand your value-add.

The Solution:

Stay with at least a 10 point font and never use more than 4 bullets in a row. Spend 12-15 seconds reading yours; if you don’t get it, they won't’ either.

5. Poor Allocation of Your Time

The Problem:

Job posting are like candy. It’s ok to eat candy, but in moderation. This is the lowest probability approach to getting a job.

The Solution:

Your time allocation should be 20% online applications, 20% recruiters, and 60% networking.



The job application process can be daunting, especially when it feels like your resume is getting lost in the abyss of online applications. However, by understanding the common pitfalls outlined above and taking proactive steps to avoid them, you can increase the visibility of your resume and improve your chances of landing that coveted interview.

Remember, each job application is an opportunity to showcase your skills and make a lasting impression. Don't let your resume fall into the black hole of missed opportunities. Take control of your job search and make every application count.

Mike Mittleman is a career coach whose business focuses on finance professionals based in the NY/CT/NJ tri-state area, helping navigate their career paths with confidence and success. For more tips and personalized coaching, visit



bottom of page