Have you wondered if there is a chance you may never get a call for a job interview? It can feel that way at times during the job search process. Sometimes it even makes one wonder if their resume is even making it into the hands of the decision makers - recruiters and hiring managers. While that may seem like a small spat of paranoia, we’ve got to let you in on something: there’s probably more truth to that than you’d think. It may not be making it to a hiring manager because your resume isn’t optimized to pass an initial screening on the Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
Most large employers in today’s technologically advanced culture utilize some form of ATS to scan and screen incoming applications and resumes. The internet has opened up most companies to many more applications that they received in the days of walking your resume into the receptionist. For this reason, they employ technology to sift through the incoming applications to find the most probable best fit candidates.
Fortunately, if you find yourself wondering if this could be your problem, we have some tips and solutions to improve your resume and get it into the hands of a hiring manager!
Use Accurate Keywords
One of the main functions of the ATS is to scan incoming resumes for keywords associated with the job functions the candidate will need to perform. In most cases, a Human Resources Representative, Recruiter, or Hiring Manager will select keywords that they feel best fit the industry and the specific job opening. The ATS will then scan incoming resumes for those predetermined keywords. It is important that before writing your resume, you take the time to research your industry and come up with a list of keywords that are trending in that area. Keep a close eye on words that are used in multiple areas, such as company literature, job titles, and headlines. Those words are more than likely some of the highest trending words in that industry, and can be powerful keywords to include in your resume.
Network for Ideas
If the search process comes up short on ideas for you, another great solution is to go straight to the source. There is no better place for relevant information than from those already holding positions within the industry or even the company you are applying to. Don’t be afraid to contact the hiring manager to discuss the job opening. Not only will you gain information that will help you with your resume optimization, but you will also show that you are proactive and serious about the job opportunity. If a phone call leaves you feeling out of your comfort zone, utilizing LinkedIn is also another great networking tool! On the business oriented social networking platform you can connect with others in the industry, at the company, or even the hiring manager!
Be Specific About Experience
Many individuals use cliché terms in their resumes that they have heard over time because they feel that they sound sophisticated and important. Remember, a recruiter’s job is to sift through resumes all day, every day. How many times have they heard those common phrases that you are about to include in your own resume? Wouldn’t you be more benefitted by sticking out above the crowd? Being specific about your experience is the best way to attract attention and catch the eye of a decision maker.
For example, instead of listing communication as a skill, be specific about the ways in which you became a great communicator, or how you actively used that skill in a specific situation. It could look something like this, “Three years of on the job experience as a Public Relations Manager where I successfully negotiated a strategic marketing campaign that returned revenues up 10% from the previous quarter.” These specific details tell the hiring manager more about you and your skills more effectively than listing ‘communication’ as a skill.
Do Not Use Photos
The ATS is unable to scan or process photos. In many cases, resumes are rejected simply because the software doesn’t recognize the photos and thus is declines that resume as it doesn’t meet the requirements. This is a simple error to eliminate, so avoid using photos on your resume!
Bullets, Not Paragraphs
When you consider the sheer volume of applications and resumes most large companies receive, you get a better appreciation for those tasked with filtering through them to find the best fit candidates. For this reason, we recommend using bullets, not paragraphs for listing your information. Paragraphs require more in-depth reading and analysis, while bullet points cut straight to the chase. Bullet points are easier on the human reader as well as the ATS bots scanning your resume, so break down the information in a reader friendly way by utilizing bullet points.
If all of this talk about Applicant Tracking Software, optimized keywords and formatting are making writing your own resume feel like a bit too much to tackle, consider going straight to the professionals. Using a resume writing service in Houston, Texas like USA Resume ensures your resume is written to industry standards by a certified resume writer, is optimized to pass the ATS, and is formatted in the correct ways. To find out more about partnering with a resume writing service, click here to contact us!