Have you ever felt as if you were sending your CV right into a black hole when searching for employment?
Did you spend hours distributing application forms to dozens (or hundreds, for the most diligent among us) just to get the generic email:
“Thank you for submitting your candidacy! We had to proceed with other applicants, but we will keep your application for future opportunities, so that we may never contact you again! “
Could you not comprehend why you, with so much experience and such a wonderful talent, do not receive responses from the most prestigious and desirable companies?
Welcome to the technological age, where a machine chooses whether or not you will be included in a pool of potential applicants.
Don’t be concerned. We’re here to clarify things up and prepare you for the ultimate struggle for the coveted position: the battle for a high applicant tracking system score.
ATS – (Applicant Tracking Systems)
These are algorithm-based software applications that give a solution for screening and sorting thousands of resumes, rejecting unsuitable candidates even before they reach human eyes.
And, certainly, this software is used by many organisations that get a significant volume of candidates.
But don’t worry, we have 7 tips for beating the machine and achieving your objective-the human eye:
- Apply only for jobs that you are qualified for – If you are a senior and apply for a junior position, they will most likely not contact you. This is not to say that you cannot change professions; nevertheless, if you lack the necessary basic abilities, it is best not to waste your time.
- Do not apply for several positions in the same firm – Because of the candidate screening system, recruiters may see all of the positions for which you have applied in the organisation. Recruiters often notice the same person who has applied for several jobs inside the business or department, and if you do this, a recruiter may not know what you are really interested in or if you are aware of your strengths.
It is completely possible to apply for both openings if the company has two vacancies that are very similar. Alternatively, if you have a diverse set of abilities and interests and believe you would be as happy in two quite different professions, you can apply for both, though you should obviously customise or focus any resume you send to the relevant post.
Note that usually you are not supposed to apply for both a junior position and a management-level position, or a position in sales and a position in video editing.
And you certainly should not turn to every opening that the company has. It just shows that you have not taken the time to consider what the right job is for you – and a recruiter is not likely to waste our time doing it for you.
- Include the right keywords – Basically, what any candidate screening system is programmed to do when it “reads” a resume is the same as what a person would do: it scans for key pieces of information to find out if you are suitable or not for the job.
When it comes to writing a resume that can go through the screening system, you want to make sure that the key data for the job is there and easy to find. One of the ways in which the ATS system narrows down the candidate pool is by searching for specific keywords. It’s like a much smaller scale Google search.
The recruiter or recruiting manager can decide which keywords to look for – usually all the most important skills, training, experience or qualities to get the job done.
For junior-level roles, this means certain specializations while for high-tech roles, these may be certain programming languages. So if you want to pass the ATS, you will need to include the important keywords in your resume.
Hint: Look for skills that appear in the job advertisement more than once and are mentioned near the beginning of the job qualifications and responsibilities. Software varieties, methodologies, spoken languages, and other abilities that are more easily quantifiable are examples of skills. (The job title itself may be the most essential keyword!) Certain degrees and certificates may also be essential keywords depending on your sector.
- Enter the keywords in the correct context – Candidate screening systems can identify that there is a key skill or experience. But recruiters want to see the meaning of your experience and how you used your skills. This is evident to the recruiter when you have already used a keyword since it was in the job posting, but if you havent linked it to a specific personal achievement – it will not provide you any benefit.
Instead of recreating a job description, concentrate on your accomplishments. Also, keep in mind that you will not be the only one who includes the vital keywords in your resume. What will set you apart from the crowd if everyone uses the same job descriptions and keywords? Answer: Your accomplishments that are unique to you.
When explaining your present and previous jobs, make sure that your key points are genuinely successes, and underline them with numbers and data.
- Do not try to trick the ATS – Along with the ATS systems, new problems were born with candidates trying to “trick the system”. You may have come across tips on how to change your resume to mislead the filtering system – by pasting keywords in white, Pasting the job description in white, repeat the keywords as many times as possible, or add a section titled “Keywords” in which words from the job description are pasted.
Don’t do all that! All the tricks associated with pasting keywords in white will be immediately apparent as the ATS will display all the text in the same color on the other side. So even if it marks your application for a human recruiter, they will see that you have added the full text of the job description or just written “Customer Service Customer Service Customer Service” somewhere and will move on to the next candidate as soon as possible.
If you have considered adding a “keywords” section, remember that it lacks any context. If you can not link your experience to the skill, it probably does not belong in your resume, and if this is true for one of the main keywords, it is not the job for you.
At the same time, what you can do is include at the top of the document a rich resume summary in keywords (and not an objective statement) that concisely places your skills in the right context.
- Make your resume easy to scan (by robots and humans) – In addition to making sure that your resume contains the appropriate content for a candidate screening system, you should also make sure that the ATS can understand this information and pass it on to the person on the other side in a readable way.
Fortunately, ATS-friendly resume design is very similar to recruiter-friendly resume design. As a human, the ATS will read from left to right and from top to bottom, so keep this in mind as you build the format.
For example, your name and contact information should be at the top, and your work history should start in the last or current position.
Among the three common formats to choose from – chronological, integrated and functional – ATS programs are programmed to prefer the first two.
Recruiters also prefer chronological and integrated formats. The resume comes to tell a story to demonstrate a person’s professional progress. It’s hard to see this story with a functional resume, which can also confuse candidate screening systems. Without a clear work history to use, the software does not know how to sort different pieces of text.
Ultimately recruiters want to find the information they are looking for as quickly as possible. So preparing an ATS-friendly resume will indeed help your resume be more readable to recruiters as well.
- Don’t go overboard with the design – It may hurt you to know this, but you probably need to get rid of that upscale resume template or a heavily designed custom resume.
If you talk to experienced HR managers [and recruiters], they will tell you that a creative [or] elegant resume is not only more difficult to read by the ATS, but also more difficult to read by recruiters.
To scan your resume for relevant keywords, most ATS will convert the document to a text file only. So at best, any fancy design will be lost. In the worst case, the ATS will not be able to retrieve the important information This way you will not go through the filter and the recruiter will never be able to see the nice design of your resume or read about the experience and skills that actually entitle you to the job.