Updated on May 25, 2022
Sorry for not updating in a while but everything remains the same. Apply directly at an employer’s website and not Indeed, and focus on what search engines want, the kind that rate and rank your resume first. That’s what Indeed does and all the major Fortune 1,000 companies do. First read is always done by a robot and not a human. Also, try my trick which is outlined down below in the text.
As for me, I have totally given up on securing editing and writing work online. I’m something of a developing digital artist and although I may starve to death before making any money at it, my mental health cannot tolerate being ignored by employers whose positions I am totally qualified for. Watch 30 seconds of this video and then tell me what task is so complicated that I can’t figure it out.
I’m convinced that in the writing and editing field, any American applicant is immediately disqualified since they will want more money than a contract worker from the Philippines or India. The world is all about money and it always will be. I have had two good bosses in forty years of work and I hope that eventually you find your two. Good luck.
Updated on January 27, 2022
Finally! The resume business is now explaining what applicant tracking systems do with a job seeker’s resume and how to optimize a resume for ATS.
I’ve long known that most big companies dump a resume into a giant database rather than having people read them all. Only those resumes matching certain ATS criteria get sent on to HR where they might be read by a real human. But how do you make your resume friendly to these proprietary algorithm?
Look around the web for information on ATS and get educated on how to write for it. I’m using a resume building service called Jobscan. Upload a resume to get a numerical score on how your application matches up to a job posting. It looks promising but it will be a few weeks before I can review it.
https://www.jobscan.co (Unsponsored external link)
Until then, remember nouns, not verbs, and to always call out quantities. You didn’t do a large amount of writing, you did 123 posts or pages. (Make up a number.) Indulge in Geek Speak to the max, knowing that ATS keys on abbreviations and acronyms that you would otherwise never use in regular writing.
Update: I used their service once or twice then quit after I got familiar with what these internal job search engines want to see. A good company.
Updated on September 20, 2021
Indeed.com — Total Fail
NB: Full Article Below This Update
Indeed.com released a video several weeks ago which stated there was a worker shortage. Nonsense. What’s lacking are employers willing (or perhaps able) to pay a decent rate. Raise wages and qualified people appear from everywhere. Truck driver shortage? Pay truckers twice as much today and driving schools will fill tomorrow. Exceptions exist where lengthy training and education are required like vets and car mechanics.
Confirming my opinion was a business consultant on local Las Vegas television yesterday. He was commenting on employers bemoaning a lack of workers in nearby Henderson. The consultant said that a healthy business futre was only possible with better jobs and much, much higher wages. Exactly,
Employers always claim they can’t afford to pay more. To whom? Sometimes it’s more about delivering a dividend to their stockholders than paying a janitor at their hotel chain. Like Bezos.
Bezos thinks building rockets is more important than paying his Amazon workers another dollar an hour. He admitted as much last week when he thanked workers and customers for subsidizing his space program. Well, we all have hobbies.
If an employer was truly concerned about their employers then they would pay the so called living wage. They would lead their industry instead of paying the bare minimum now required by law. This is what the Justice Department asked AT&T to do back in the 1970s regarding equal employment hiring. Lead your industry by going beyond our rules instead of following what we have on paper now. With apologies to their stockholders for diminished returns due to overhauling their practices, AT&T complied and moved all of America toward more equality in hiring.
As I describe below, your greatest obstacle to getting interviewed is by asking for a decent wage. Forget that. Ask instead for a ridiculously low wage just to get someone to respond. Once you get an interview, state that your low rate was based on expectations of quick advancement, profit sharing, a 401K or whatever.
When the employer says they don’t offer squat, say you’ll have to ask for more money. But get in the door. This is a rigged, liars’ game from the start so don’t feel bad about fudging a single part of your application. Be completely honest with the rest of your app but watch out for the obstacles I write about below.
Indeed.com is a waste of time by itself but it may provide enough information for you to contact an employer directly. That might improve your chances. See how I did that below.
First Things First
First things first. Do not apply to any company at Indeed.com that hides their website or company information. See the graphic below. If the “Company Info” field is blank, run away. That’s a sure sign of scammers and con artists and the lowest paying employers. Any good company will proudly describe itself.
If you try to find this missing company info on your own, you may find that no website exists and that the company posting may be operating for unknown and possibly scurrilous reasons. Some are linked to money launderers or thieves who may put you on their payroll temporarily just to get your banking information. Do not give these so called employers personal information like your resume. Don’t.
And don’t expect Indeed.com to root out scammers. They don’t. They get paid by the employer, including bad employers and crooks. In fact, in their latest Terms of Service, Indeed.com puts the following in bold type:
“Indeed does not guarantee the validity of a job offer and cautions Job Seekers to verify the validity of a job offer before taking an adverse action regarding their current employment situations. Job Seekers are solely responsible for verifying the accuracy of any Employer or job offer.”
Wow. That’s how little they care.
Do Employers Look at Indeed Applications?
Indeed.com is a total fail. Since I was qualified for every job I recently applied for, it must be that I was overqualified or asking for too much money. I suspect the latter.
Indeed.com requires that you state the hourly rate you are seeking in your profile. That rate or amount then gets put into all the applications you submit unless an employer asks otherwise. In my case, I wrote down what I started at with my present company five years ago. I think that’s where most of my job applications ended.
Even when an employer says they pay $20 to $30 an hour (internal link), they are probably rejecting everyone who asks for, let’s use a number, $15.00 an hour or more. That would explain why and how an employer can reject applications without ever looking at them. Backing that up, my writing website traffic is near zero except for the unusual but consistent bot hits from China. Obviously, no one is or was looking a my portfolio website.
I was rejected for 17 jobs. I received only two notices which said I was not selected and only three notices that an employer had viewed my application. I asked customer support how I can be rejected when an employer never views my application. The answer was astounding.
Customer support says a viewed application notice gets sent only if an employer clicks a button on their dashboard. It’s not required by Indeed. You will never know whether an employer actually looked at your application unless you get that rare viewed application notice.
Do People Really Get Jobs Through Indeed?
Probably not. Indeed won’t say; they have never stated how many people get hired through them. They probably don’t care since it is the employer who pays them. Indeed thus requires little from the employer since the employer pays the bills.
As I have written before, Indeed leaves their site open to scam artists and to employers that pay writers as little as one cent a word. The applicant isn’t top of mind. Indeed does have excellent customer support for applicants but all of their answers dead end with the employer deciding the rules.
In The Old Days you’d send off dozens of resumes in the mail, never to hear back. Oh, you’d get a form letter rejection now and then but never more than two or three. Back then, I kind of understood. To send rejection notices, an employer had to pay a secretary to stuff envelopes, label them up, and then pay postage.
Today, all an employer has to do is to click a button to send a rejection notice. Yet they don’t. Thanks.
To recap, Indeed’s main mission is to get more employers onboard and not to help find you a job. They don’t advertise to job applicants, they advertise to employers. Your success is not their success. You don’t pay them. Or, do you?
I’ve yet to determine this but it is possible Indeed.com makes money by selling demographic information about applicants to various groups. Not personal info, I hope, but as much information as they legally can. That would provide these greedheads more money and explain why there are so many steps to doing things at Indeed.
Why is Indeed So Bad?
I became so frustrated with Indeed that I went outside their system. I was rejected for a job through Indeed.com that matched the exact skill set I have. This job was was at a content creation company for law firms, just like the company I worked for at the time.
I looked at that employers’ website and found a client listed as a customer. (Companies love to list important clients.) I then looked at that client’s website and picked a page at random. Yikes! It had typos and misspellings and bad syntax. No SEO optimization apparent in the text or headings. There was absolutely no way I would have accepted this from any of my writers. I emailed my corrections and suggestions for that page to the person who ran this content creation website.
The owner responded quickly but was mainly interested in how I found his client. He said his hiring team would contact me if they thought I was a good fit and of course they never did. I did see web traffic to my site increase immediately after contacting him so I know some people visited.
This is probably the best approach: use Indeed.com to see who is hiring and then hunt down the email of someone who owns or operates the company. Send in some work tailored to that employer. Linkedin may help to find contact info but it gets crazy expensive if you want to message through them.
Full disclosure. The law firm featured by this content creation firm was a bankruptcy outfit. Those law offices tend to be mills and they don’t have much money. Not enough to afford my old company and we we certainly wouldn’t have put them on our home page as clients. Perhaps my effort was doomed from the beginning but at least I got a response from the company I actually targeted.
Is There Anything Else Going On?
Many companies must publicly post job openings even if they have someone in mind for a job. This is typical. We want to give the job to Marvin who has worked with us for five years in another department but our corporation demands we post the job opening to satisfy equal rights requirements. This is a huge and hidden part of hiring and employers will never admit it. Posting to Indeed.com gives these companies a way to fulfill corporate dictates. Yes, it’s a rigged game and it has been that way for forever.
How do I get Hired Through Indeed?
You’ll never get someone to review your application if they don’t want to pay the decent rate you are asking. Then again, do you want to work for a dirtbag company that doesn’t pay what you are worth? Keep looking at Indeed.com if desperation forces you. Or isolate hiring companies through them and then contact those companies directly. Better yet, use a different job board. Common among them all? None of them will ever say how many people get jobs through them. None of them. Again, Indeed.com is a total fail.
Who’s Hiring You?
This makes a big difference but I don’t know how you can easily determine this. If an outside contractor is hiring people then you shouldn’t worry. If the hiring team is two or three people tasked with the chore within a company then I would be uncomfortable. If you are too smart the job may go to a dullard who won’t eventually take over their job. Which you should be planning to do. Fear of competition is rampant among poorly led groups.
There’s a scene in A Bridge Too Far in which a superior officer tells a young soldier, “You happen to be somewhat brighter than most of us. Tends to make us nervous.” Indeed. We all rank each other on intelligence on first meeting. An outstanding team leader will hire people smarter than they are. Most team leaders are not outstanding.
If you do get into an interview, keep up! If you can’t keep up, fake it. Faking it, after all, is a vital part of keeping up. I’ve written on this here, (internal link.) The accompanying video shows two master showmen battling to lead the conversation with each keeping up.
Here’s a Really Wild Idea
I didn’t try this. Put down a really, really low rate of pay to see if someone interviews you. Get in the door. Then announce you were only planning to accept that rate because you assumed numerous valuable benefits like medical and a generous 401K plan were included. If they say no such benefits exists, then say you will have to ask for more money. I don’t know, that’s just me speculating.
Another wild one? Set yourself up as employer to find out how this racket works. I put so much good faith time into exploring their job board that I sometimes pondered if I should approach their system as an employer. Of, course, I wouldn’t want anyone to think I am offering a legitimate job. Still, I think I might gain more insight as an applicant if I offered a job as an employer. But, again, one can’t fraud.
Side Note for Newcomers to Online Job Hunting
You are competing against the entire world for much online work. Overseas workers with a good command of English drive down the wage floor to levels impossible for Americans to live on. I have nothing against foreign workers, simply realize that this is a major part of your competition. I know a writer in the Philippines who is a fine, hardworking man who supports himself and his wife on wages that wouldn’t pay my rent. And I don’t live big. He has a right to earn. Just understand that your pay scale may be fixed at the rate of the world, not necessarily America.
Truth be told, many American employers are already on foreign worker job boards and may not be on Indeed.com at all. At times I have been asked to look for new writers through job boards in the Philippines. Sigh.
What About Those Skill Tests?
The tests are odd and I don’t know if they improve your chances. Indeed’s advertising says they allow an applicant to show off what they know. Maybe. Maybe not. The writing test is so crippled that it certainly won’t help.
The writing test at Indeed had no relation to real world online writing under deadline (internal link) and I did poorly. Sorry, Indeed, I’m the expert here and you know nothing about how freelance online editing and writing works. Indeed says you can’t retest so a poor score will dog all your applications. Great. Still, I think there is a way since I stumbled into a retest opportunity just as I was leaving Indeed.com for good. Excuse me but I can’t remember the path I took to get there. Should be hackable.
The SEO test was more realistic and I scored extremely high. Still, the questions were out of date and written by someone who isn’t working in the field. Even though I only know about SEO on the front end, the written page, what I can do studying ahrefs, I knew enough. But it is always disturbing when you know more about a subject than the person who wrote the test.
Should You Have A Work Website?
A portfolio website showing your best work is a good idea. It’s less messy than attaching files to emails if someone is interested in you. Actually, everyone needs a simple work website to look professional, even if few people look at it. What you are really interested in are the statistics a website provides, to see if you get traffic from any of your applications. It was very depressing, however, to go through the entire Indeed.com hiring process to see almost zero hits to my website.
What Should You Concentrate on Now?
I would look at how you get your information to stand out when it is dumped into a searchable database which focuses on keywords. Your lovingly crafted resume is just another text file to these employer databases which use bots to ferret out a likely candidate. This article looks pretty good on this vital subject. It’s to an external, non-sponsored site:
P.S. Anything you know about SEO will help building a real world resume. Remember, nouns, not verbs.
Aren’t we all? My brother has spent the last several years delivering letters for the United States Post Office. It’s hard work out of doors when the weather is severe, but it was steady work while he completed his doctorate. Yes, he finally got his degree but he continues to work for them.
USPS has been constantly advertising for help for over a year. Here is a link:
Good luck to you. Unfortunately, finding even part-time work is now a full time job. Job searching is insanely frustrating and yet we have few choices.
For background, my first paying job was at 16. This was part time during high school. I’m 63 and my last job was also part time and that job lasted five years. During those 47 years of full time and part time work I had two good employers, one of them actually great. That’s it. A total of ten good years and two good employers over 47 years. I think that correlates with what most people experience.
Next to Next Last Word
NB: Are you an employer who has used Indeed.com? If so, I would really like your opinion. Thanks in advance: firstname.lastname@example.org