With unemployment high during Coronavirus, desperate job seekers cannot afford to have their resumes discarded by bots.
Approximately 99% of FORTUNE 500 companies, and 35% of small businesses, now use a digital Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to weed out 75% of resumes before a real-life human sees it.
While ATS certainly is a helpful tool for human resource departments and recruiters, it can inadvertently block a highly qualified person from getting an interview, if they are not prepared. That is why it is critically important, now more than ever, to make sure you have an ATS friendly resume. If you are applying for a job online, it is most certainly using ATS.
1) MATCH YOUR RESUME WITH KEYWORDS FROM THE JOB DESCRIPTION: ATS, and hiring managers that later review the resumes, make decisions based on keywords. One way to ensure you beat the bot is to take language directly from the job description and insert it into your resume. By looking at the description, you can see exactly what kind of words they are looking for and the frequency with which they are using them and tweak your resume accordingly. You’re going to want to look for language at the top of the description, hard skills that are mentioned multiple times, types of software you are proficient with, methodologies, spoken languages, and degrees if applicable.
2) UPDATE YOUR RESUME TO REFLECT COVID-ERA SKILLS: Many companies are working remotely including Facebook who will be doing so until July 2021. Suddenly, experience working remotely, managing remote teams, and being a self-starter has more importance than ever before. Be sure to peruse the job description and update your resume accordingly.
3) USE BOTH THE LONG-FORM AND ACRONYM VERSION OF KEYWORDS: Candidates often will use acronyms on their resume, however, bots are ultra-specific so even if you think an abbreviation is a common knowledge, include both the long and share form. For example, if you hold an MBA you should write it as a Masters of Business Administration (MBA).
4) DO NOT OVERDO KEYWORD STUFFING: While we implore you to use keywords, do not embellish your resume. Many candidates get discarded after being caught writing multiple keywords in the white copy to pump up their keyword density. The ATS sniffs this out by displaying the text on your resume in the same color so a hiring manager can spot it. Instead of this, try including a keyword-rich resume summary that succinctly puts your skills in context at the top of your resume. This is not to be confused with an objective statement.
5) PICKING THE RIGHT FORMAT IS KEY: Nowadays, there are myriad types of resume formats. Choosing the wrong one Is the most common unforced error job seekers make. It is best to use a chronological format or hybrid. You should avoid the functional format. The reason for this is that the ATS likes these formats better because it can easily read both the length and chronology of your work experience. Save it in either a Docx or PDF format or ATS will block it.
While initially, job seekers may view the ATS as an impediment to getting a badly need a job during this economic crisis, once they know how to write a resume the right way, it will help get them to the top of the list for jobs they are qualified for.