Many employers today use applicant tracking systems (often abbreviated as “ATSs”) to keep track of and screen the resumes they receive from job seekers. You can read more about the basics of ATSs and how ResumeSending.com can help you get your resume through them in our previous article on the topic.
What’s important to know, though, is that ATSs are pieces of software that screen resumes received from job seekers and use an automated process to decide which resumes will continue on in the hiring process to be seen by a real person. So, it’s very important to know how ATSs screen resumes. They are not perfect, and they can (and sometimes do) screen out the resumes of candidates who would likely be good fits for the position being hired for. Here are some tips to make sure this doesn’t happen to your resume.
There are many different types of ATSs out there. They each work a little bit differently, but they also have many things in common. Most ATSs work by comparing your resume to a set of criteria decided on by the employer. These criteria usually take the form of keywords, and these keywords are usually related to things like a candidate’s past work experience, level of education, specific skills, former employers, and similar things.
For example, an employer might want to hire a salesperson with more than five years of experience who is willing to travel for work and already knows how to use the sales software Salesforce. The employer could set their ATS to screen out resumes that don’t include the keywords “five years of experience”, “travel”, and “Salesforce”. This would probably get the employer a candidate they want to hire, but you can probably imagine how the resumes of other qualified candidates might be screened out. So, it’s important to remember that ATSs will likely screen your resume using a keyword search, and you’ll want to try the best you can to include in your resume the keywords the ATS is likely to be looking for.
This is easier said than done, but the employer usually provides you with a very important clue about what keywords they are going to have their ATS look for: The posted job description. Read the job description very carefully and note the keywords. In every case where you meet the requirements presented in the job description, spell that out explicitly in your resume, staying as close as possible to the exact language used in the job description.
As an example, imagine a job description says the employer is looking for someone with “customer service experience”, and your resume says you have experience “working closely with customers to ensure their satisfaction”. To a human reader, these things are obviously the same thing, but an ATS might not make that logical connection, because it’s only a piece of software, and only looking for exactly the keywords it’s been told to look for, “customer service experience”. This is one of the reasons it’s important to read the employer’s job description very, very carefully and to try in your resume to match the language of the job description as closely as possible.
Writing your resume like this may seem a little redundant and boring…because it is redundant and boring. But unfortunately many aspects of searching for a job are redundant and boring (and frustrating). Our goal at ResumeSending.com is to help you with some of the most redundant and boring (and frustrating) parts and help make your job search as short and as successful as possible. We hope you’ll give us a chance to help you out. Best of luck in your job search.