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!