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The best way to avoid the "black hole" is to not throw your resume into it in the first place.

Instead, use your professional networks and friends. Reach out to actual human beings. Find any way you can to bypass the bullshit online job application systems and HR departments.

When people (or programs) go through a stack of resumes, it's all about finding reasons to eliminate as many as possible as quickly as possible using the flimsiest of criteria. Of course it's going to create hard feelings but what should one expect when putting oneself into a giant horde of applicants?

So you're screwed if you didn't invest in contacts early in your career even if you have the needed experience and skills?

Having a good professional network is not something you can just "turn on" at will.

You would be surprised. With a few months of investment attending local meetups, you can meet a lot of people. If you take the extra step and, say, volunteer for speaking engagements, you can establish yourself as an authority in your area of expertise fairly quickly. You won't become a DHH overnight, but you'll still be miles ahead of those who still play the resume game.

What to do if you don't have resources to do that? (Example: me. No friends, negative net worth, zero income, no car, no bicycle, no bus money, most clothes have holes in them)

Get a job at a temp agency and start networking from within whatever shitty placement they give you. I literally started my career in a mail room working with developmentally disabled people and ex convicts. Now I'm a senior software engineer.

Getting involved in the community of open source software is a good strategy. If you can prove your technical chops along with being friendly and open to giving and receiving feedback you'll make good professional contacts.

Then you might have to shotgun your resume into online applications but don't be disappointed if you get hardly any response, even the best most qualified candidates get frustrated by doing that.

The tech meetup scene seriously sucks in a lot of places, especially if your expertise/interest lies somewhere other than web design/development/DevOps.

Almost everyone faces problems looking for work. In that sense we're all screwed.

But yeah, you MUST invest in building up professional contacts as soon as you start working, if you don't you're just making your career development intractably hard.

Of course it takes years to develop and requires maintenance. You gotta start somewhere, for folks in school that means finding an internship or even a work-study assignment. It could mean taking a less than hot-shit job.

You can fake a bit. Call someone in the company that's not in HR. When you apply, you refer to or CC that person. Now the HR employee sees that CC and thinks "If I ignore this application someone inside the company might ask about it". HR doesn't know that there's no real connection, but they know that they might have to justify​ your rejection and so now they're reading your application properly.

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