Remember that job application you filled out about three weeks ago? You probably have not gotten a call back about it. Why? Because your application probably was not even reviewed by a real person. In this day and age, companies large and small are using more technology, particularly applicant tracking systems (ATS). 72% of submitted applications are never read by an actual person. When you send your application in, a program looks it over to determine whether you match up with what the company wants in an employee. Applicants are then ranked based on the criteria of that particular ATS. When someone else has a better ranking or credentials, your application goes to the back of the line. Here’s a peek into how an ATS looks:
So what can you do to get your application seen?
1. Spell words correctly. Misspelled words do not look good on a resume in the first place, and they will look even worse to a computer, which cannot empathize with you. Make sure to proofread, and have a friend or two go over your resume for you.
2. Use resume optimization tools. Use tools such as Jobscan to optimize your resume keywords. Jobscan compares your resume against job descriptions and calculates how well you match each job, what keywords your resume is missing, and even recommends jobs listings for which you’re a good match. Using tools like this gives you a great competitive edge over other applicants who aren’t aware of such tools.
3. Keep your resume simple. Do not use borders, graphics, or unusual typefaces. It is also unwise to use pictures or fancy characters, as they cannot always be read by an ATS. It is best to use a simple typeface, with standard bullet points listing your job-related achievements. Common typefaces include Helvetica, Arial, Tahoma, Georgia, Trebuchet, and Times New Roman. Don’t let the appearance of your resume distract from the information it contains.
4. Use keywords from the job description. These will be instantly identified by an ATS, and will also stand out when a living, breathing human being reviews your resume.
5. Only use information that is relevant, and beef up your skill set. Most companies are not interested in jobs you have had that do not apply to the job you want. They are, however, interested in certain job-specific terms that may pertain to your role, and the list of skills that you have to bring to the table. You may want to include a professional summary, including qualifications or achievements that are relevant to the job for which you are applying.
6. Make sure to put your contact information first. Do not forget to include pertinent information such as your phone number, email address, and even a link to your LinkedIn profile. Many ATS programs will send you an email immediately after you submit your resume, so be sure to check your spam folder in case you do not see anything.
7. Finally, keep each and every resume unique to the situation. There is no one-size-fits-all resume. Every job and every ATS is slightly different. Use the tools mentioned above to quickly identify important keywords you should have for each version of your resume. If you use the information above to help write up your next resume, you should have a job in no time at all.
See if your updated resume is ATS proof by scanning it here: