Remember the days when you could write a resume and send it to all of your potential future employers? When you could just walk in with your resume on nice cotton paper? Well…times have changed and you should not be thinking of that anymore.
You now need to be thinking of, “How can I get past the Applicant Tracking Software?” First, we must state that there any many answers to this question such as networking, but today we will simply focus on Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) and your resume.
What is Applicant Tracking Software? An ATS is a software application that enables the electronic handling of recruitment needs.
Why do companies need an ATS?Over the past decade, HR departments have been struggling with ways to prove that they can be a return on an investment department and not a cost center. One strategy that almost ALL major companies have turned to is an ATS. In concept, it allows their recruiters to work more efficiently, streamline their work and offer better results to their hiring managers.
Why do I care about an ATS? We felt that it was important to bring this to your attention because chances are you are not getting the job because of this ATS. In today’s economy, recruiters are being flooded with applications. Depending on the size of the company and their reach, a typical job posting can receive 200-1000 candidates. Typical recruiters can be working on 30-50 jobs at one time. That’s 6,000-50,000 applicants that the recruiter has to go through. Translation: it’s just not possible to look at each and every one. So, what recruiters turn to for help is the ATS.
These ATS systems allow the recruiter to automatically filter through resumes based on keywords. For example, if the job is a Help Desk Technician, the keyword filter may include: Desktop support, tickets, server, configuration, Norton, etc… Simply put, if you do not have these keywords in your resume, it will be discarded by the ATS.
Ever wonder why when you apply to a job, you get a rejection instantly? It happens to everyone. You find the perfect job and you apply. Minutes later you get an email saying thank you for applying, you regret to inform you… This is because the ATS did not like your resume!
What do I do and how do I fix this?
- Reverse engineer the job description
First, I discuss this at length on my website. You must create your resume for the job. Take a look at the job description and the bullets that you write must answer the job description requirements. Going back to the above example of the Help Desk Technician. If the job description says, “Provide Tier 1 help desk support to end users on various technical issues …”, then your resume must say something such as, “Responsible for Tier 1 help desk support for all end users on technical issues such as …” With this tactic, you are using the exact keywords that the recruiter is looking for! Thus creating the resume that they want to see. Not only will you get past the ATS, but chances are greater that the recruiter will pass your resume along to the hiring manager.
- Remove the Guesswork
If the job description asks for someone with three years of IT experience, do not rely on the recruiter or hiring manager to count the years on your resume. Instead, make it obvious with, “three years of IT experience.” Do not assume that because you are a Help Desk Technician that the recruiter KNOWS that you have knowledge in desktop support, tickets and servers. If these are required skills for the job, you need to use those words.
- Make the Call
Finally, just because you have created the perfect resume for each job and have done all the recommended tweaks listed above, does not mean you will get an interview. Be proactive. If you want the job, go get it. Even after the ATS has kicked out hundreds, if not thousands of resumes, there will still be thousands left. Meaning, you still have a lot of competition. Do your research and make the phone call. Let the recruiter know what job you just applied to and why you are qualified for the job. This way, when they are sorting through the resumes, your name will stand out as they will remember your phone conversation. I explain how to do research, not only on the company, but also on the interviewer and hiring manager.
Need help tailoring your resume to fit the job? We encourage you to take a look at our services. We can help you get your resume in tip-top shape and get noticed, not only by the ATS system, but by recruiters and hiring managers as well.