Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Waiting To Inhale...Your Resume!

That's what an Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) does. It "inhales" your resume, sorts your personal and professional information, and looks for specific keywords that match job descriptions. In this very tough job market, hiring managers and recruiters are inundated with hundreds of resumes for every opening, and they just don't have the resources to read each one and select the most qualified candidates. So, the ATS does it for them. The problem is, the ATS is NOT looking for ways to include you – it's looking for ways to filter you out of the candidate pool. So how do you conquer the ATS challenge to get your resume actually seen – and read?

The obvious answer is to stuff your resume chock-full of as many keywords and as much industry jargon as you possibly can, right? Maybe even stick a giant keyword paragraph on at the end. Good ideas, right? Wrong. Most ATS's will reject resumes that don't have enough keywords, but some ALSO discard resumes that have too may keywords. It's important to have the right balance of the right keywords in your resume.

So what's the answer? First, read job descriptions. Read some more, and then read a few more. Read as many job descriptions as you can for the type of position you want, pick out the right keywords - the ones that match your background, experience and expertise, and write your resume so that your qualifications and experience meet the requirements of the job description. Of course, it also has to be true and accurate. Many ATS's now automatically check details like degrees and even employment dates, so don't lie. Give yourself the best chance of getting your resume seen by making sure your is keyword rich, with the right balance of keywords to make the ATS cut!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


With record numbers of jobseekers actively seeking new employment, you have to work harder – and smarter - than ever before to get your resume seen, and to get in the door for an interview. Having a resume that makes you a competitive player in today's job market is no longer enough to ensure a response to your resume.

Employers in this market have just one question: Why should I hire YOU? In this economy, employers have unprecedented numbers of candidates to choose from for every single job opening. If your resume is just competitive, you don't make the cut. It takes more than a competitor to win in this market – employers have to see you as a superstar.

So how do you take your resume to the next level? How do you convince a potential employer you are the "must-have" candidate? Here are some tips to get you started:

1) Know what's happening in NOW your industry. Conduct some research through professional associations, colleagues, competitors, and news bureaus to make sure you're up to speed on hot topics in your field. Make sure you know what the latest terminology is, and use those keywords in your resume.

2) Recognize what the future holds. Look for emerging technologies, untapped markets, the latest product advancements, and new product developments. Show a potential employer you know what's coming down the road – immediately and long-term - and that you know how to uncover and capitalize on those opportunities.

3) Distinguish yourself. What do you do better than anyone else in your field? What are the strengths, expertise, and competencies that make you distinctive? What would former bosses, customers, and team members tell a potential employer about your work?

4) Quantify your achievements. Think about each job you've held, and ask yourself how your employer benefited because you were there. What did you do – specifically – to increase revenue, reduce costs, improve service, streamline processes, gain market share, develop new products, etc. How much did you generate in revenue? How much time and money did your idea for a process improvement save? Did you help turn around an unhappy customer? How much did that client mean to the company in annual sales? Make your story compelling and powerful with precise details and numbers.

5) Position yourself for your NEXT Role. Don't dwell on where you've been. Position your resume for the role you want next. If you're a Sales Rep who wants to be a Sales Manager, try to bring out instances where you've had opportunities to train new hires, lead projects or teams, or present your successes at local or national meetings. Try to find examples of leadership roles, and bring out that experience in your resume. Let a potential employer know you want to excel, advance, and grow in your career.

Today's job market makes it more critical than ever to have a commanding resume – a resume that gives you a greater competitive edge and more than a fighting chance. If you need help putting together a "knock-'em-dead" document, hire a professional resume writer to help you project the right professional image.