Tagged: applicant Tracking Systems

Contextualizing Tech Now Reads Resumes

When you submit your resume the first reader is often a computer.  You already know that to get past this technology gate you need to include keywords that show you have the experience that matches the requirements of the position.  Generation Next in applicant tracking systems is  technology that looks for keywords but also looks at the context in which they are used.  You’ll be more successful if you follow these suggestions for placing keywords.

Starting at the top of your resume, in the introduction (summary), use a few bullets that include 3-5 of the keywords you’ve identified for this position.

In your experience section, highlight your achievements using the keywords.  Use keywords again when you list recent training or skill updating.

You can help the ATS identify the keywords by using an easily read font such as Arial.  Keep the resume format simple to enable the computer to “see” all that you have written.  Eventually, a human will look at your resume, most likely on a device, so make all of your information easy for the eye to locate.

What type of file should be used?  PDF is safe, is readable across devices and can be faxed.

All of this sounds pretty cut and dried.  Don’t forget to include your excitement about the job, your passion for exceeding expectations, your unique human qualities.

Bypass Applicant Tracking Systems Using LinkedIn

Perhaps you’ve sent resumes and never heard a word.  The reason may be the applicant tracking systems that many companies use to sort through the piles of applications.

Truth is, most jobs are filled by someone already among the hiring manager’s connections or by a candidate referred by one of the connections.

Avoid sending blind resumes into the jaws of an applicant tracking system, use your LinkedIn account to place yourself on the radar of the hiring manger before you apply for a position.

  1. Do some sleuthing.  Find a few companies in the industry you are in or the type of business that want to work for.   At those companies, identify 10 or more people who have job titles or positions similar to those you want.  Find them using the search box on LinkedIn.
  2. Look at the profiles of the names that appear; choose some to connect with by clicking the connect button.  There is an option to customize the  invitation  using “add a note”.  Personalize your invitation like this:   “I’m exploring careers in (advertising sales to companies that sell green products). I’m contacting (sales executives) in (print marketing) to get advice from people who are on the front lines to see if this is a good fit for my goals and experience.”
  3. When you have secured a connection begin an inmail correspondence, commenting on items in the contact’s profile or asking questions.  Invite your contact for coffee .  Most people will agree to a brief meeting during which you can ask about their job.   Your  coffee invitation should mirror your original connection out-reach.  “May I buy you coffee one day next week?  I’d like to find out more about your work and (name of the company they work for)?”  Occasionally, you will want to speak with a person who isn’t local; extend an invitation this way.”May I join you for coffee via a zoom conference one morning next week?  I’d like to learn more about your job and (company name).
  4. Pay attention to more than our contact’s job description and title.  Strong connections can be made with graduates of your alma mater, home town, those who share an interest or passion.
  5. Remember to add value to your contact.  Share a link to an article they might read, a new book on a mutual interest, offer an introduction to a LinkedIn connection or someone you do business with.

Why bother growing your network on LinkedIn?  Most successful candidates come from among people known to the person doing the hiring.   The more people you know, the more jobs become available to you.

Finding networking challenging?  For a list of networking tips, send me an email at stephanie@accessguidance.com.

Job Boards Aren’t Helpful To Most Seekers

Says who?

Says Art Campbell, of the Camden County Chamber of Commerce (NJ).  Art points out that 54% of businesses have 5 or fewer employees and 83% have 19 or fewer employees.   These employers  have no HR department because the owner or manager is the person who selects new employees.

Small businesses hire differently from the 2% that employ 100 or more people.  The owners of  small companies are most likely to ask the senior staffer or most trusted one if s/he knows someone who can fill an open position.  They ask colleagues and they look for candidates on LinkedIn.

Open jobs never make it to the newspaper or the job boards because they are filled quickly by someone in their network.

If you are looking to move over or move on, need your first opportunity or are thinking about changing career directions, you need to fortify your network.   Revise your LinkedIn profile to include recent achievements and training.  Expand your connections.  Attend networking events.  If you aren’t visible, you aren’t going to be hired.

Consider larger firms and corporations that post multiple positions on job boards.   From  among the hundreds of  responses, the HR department uses a filtering system to find resumes with the closest fit to the experience and qualifications of each job.  Applicant Tracking Systems are only as good as the person who uploads the job description but who may not have first hand knowledge of what is needed. Batches of resumes are run through the ATS which selects 25 resumes to be hand read.  From the 25,  5 are chosen for interviews and one of the 5 will be hired.  Using keywords does not automatically make an individual the best person for a job; the best candidate may go unrecognized.

Lets look at another scenario.   Matt knows that YouRit is hiring programmers.  His former colleague, Krista, works there.  Matt calls Krista and over coffee he asks if she would recommend him for the job.  She passes his resume on to HR who adds his name to the interview list because he has been pre-screened by Krista.

Had Matt sent in a resume without a sponsor it is likely to have gone to the virtual dustbin marked “Disapproved” or “Disqualified”.  Not only does Matt not get this job, but if he applies again he already has a black mark next to his name which will automatically keep him out of contention.

When hiring, most people will choose the candidate who is the best fit with the company culture over the one with the more impressive resume.  To be that person, take time to understand the company and the business problems and reach out confidently.  Its the personal touch that makes the difference.

Lets talk about your best job search strategy.  Stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679