75% of resumes are rejected in the first screening. And more often than not, that first screening is done by a computer.
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) help employers narrow the applicant pool quickly. This is a good thing for companies because they see 250+ applications per position. The number of applicants skyrockets into the tens of thousands for large well-known companies.
Five years ago, only large companies were using Applicant Tracking Systems in their hiring process, but now they are more affordable and dependable so even small local business are using them. And as these systems have evolved, they are getting better and doing their job — meaning, they are smart enough to see past the tricks that used to work to get resumes through them.
When you’re applying for posted positions, your first goal is to get your resume in front of an actual person. You do this, by satisfying the bots (also known as the ATS). The bots are looking for keywords and even dates to show years of experience.
But filling your resume with as many keywords as possible in a way that is not representative of you or that makes is difficult to read, may not even get you through the ATS anymore. And even if it does, the person who sees it next may not give it much time. So the strategy for adding keywords to your resume is to do it logically and intentionally.
Use the exact words that you see in the job description, but don’t copy exact sentences. It’s important that your resume truly represents you and that you don’t give anyone reason to doubt the validity of it.
Also make sure that you have accurate and clear dates for your experience. Some resume templates and formats don’t work well with these systems either. Resist the urge to find the most trendy resume template, and go with something simple instead. Your resume should be easy on the eyes, but unless you’re a graphic or web designer, your resume simply needs to be easy to read and organized.
These systems are designed to look for exactly what the job description asks for, so using one resume for everything will keep you in the 75% that get rejected first.
Creating custom and intentional resumes for each position you apply for takes more time, but is more efficient in the end, because you’ll get in front of the right people by doing so.
My step-by-step process for creating winning resumes including templates and proven strategies is in my signature program, Successfully Hired. Check it out if you’re ready to get your resume to the top of the applicant pool and impress your next boss.