Besides working through the content for your resume, another area you need to carefully consider is formatting and whether your resume will make it through the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Related: Resume Checklist: Must-Haves & Must-Dos Many employers have come to rely on the ATS to help filter out a select few candidates for consideration with each job opening. In fact, it’s not uncommon for employers to receive as many as 400 resumes for a job opening, but to only pick out the top 20 ranked by ATS software for review by a person.
You’ve heard the advice that a resume needs to be customized, and that sending one generic resume being to multiple employers isn’t going to cut it. This holds even more truth now that a majority of employers are relying on Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software which reads and ranks your resume. Related: 4 Easy Steps For Creating A Targeted Resume The Applicant Tracking Systems use algorithms to rank your resume according to experience and keywords so some tweaks to your resume may be in order. While it’s nearly impossible to figure the exact algorithm being used, what you can do is try to offer as much information as possible that's relevant to what the employer is seeking. Start by reading the job posting and identifying the key roles, responsibilities, and requirements that are indicated there. Then you will want to do two things: showcase your capabilities both under the "Profile Summary" of your resume as well as under some of the jobs where they are relevant. A good tip is to have a "Capabilities" section on your resume right after the "Profile Summary." For example, if the job posting indicates the job requires someone with “extensive experience managing large-scale, multimillion-dollar projects to meet budgets, schedules, and specifications,” then just show this as a statement in your "Capabilities" section, like:
Well, it has happened. The digital age has made a lasting effect on job searching, and not in a positive way. In the last few years, the number of companies using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), the software that reads and ranks resumes, has more than doubled. And according to Forbes, 75% of qualified candidates are being weeded out because of these systems. Related: 3 Ways To Beat The Evil Applicant Tracking System (ATS) To deal with these systems, the first thing you should do is make sure your resume can be read by them. (See my article "Complying with the Applicant Tracking Systems" on how to do this.) But that does not solve the problem. I recently spoke to a hiring manager at a Fortune 500 firm and he said that, when he is looking for candidates, HR just gives him a list of the top 20 highest ranking candidates. That means the other 280+ people who replied to the ad, for whatever reason, are not even seen by the manager. It also means that, if you are not a perfect fit, you will probably not be noticed. For example, even though accountants are pretty much cross-industry, if you are trying to leave a telecom firm and move over to financial services, you may not be noticed because you do not have financial services industry experience.
It’s no secret todays job market is unforgiving. Tell me if this sounds like you. You wake up at the crack of dawn, spend hours at a coffee shop applying for hundreds of jobs, each time you tweak your resume and cover letter until you hit that sour point where you realize, “Looking for a job, IS a job in itself.” It makes zero sense. You’re qualified. You have experience. And you’re passionate. Related: What’s An Applicant Tracking System?