So, you’ve found an open position for the job of your dreams. You’re qualified, excited, and ready to submit your application. But is your resume up to speed?
Many resumes that I see are wildly outdated and will be of absolutely no help when applying for a job. Resume techniques and styles have changed massively throughout the years – don’t be the one to get left behind simply because didn’t take the time to update your documents!
They may not have been around when you were applying for your last job, but there are these robots called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). ATS basically screens every resume that comes in for an open position and determines whether or not it’s even worthy of being read by human eyes. I don’t mean to be a downer, but if your resume doesn’t make the cut, goodbye job of your dreams.
So, how exactly can you get past ATS?
That’s a good question – one a lot more people should be asking.
Making sure your resume meets the standards of any ATS is crucial. You’ll need to start by keeping the formatting pretty low-key. Too many extravagant add-ons, pictures, or templates will completely confuse the scanners and will most likely result in your resume being booted from the system. Keeping your resume clean, polished, and professional will be your absolute best bet for getting your formatting spot on.
You’ll also want to keep your information pretty basic. Stick with experience, education, technical skills, honors/awards, and notable highlights.
You know that typical section at the top of your resume called an objective? Well, it’s time to get rid of it! No one – and I mean NO ONE – wants to read an objective. They’re completely outdated and they really don’t say anything about you.
What you need is a professional summary. A summary can give so much more information about you and your background, skills, and accomplishments. It is also a fantastic way to grab recruiters’ attention and show them that you’re a perfect model of the type of candidate that they’re looking for. You can easily highlight your relevant skills in a professional summary and that will allow you to make the most lasting impression on recruiters in the few seconds you have to wow them.
Applicant Tracking Systems will absolutely love you if you include the right keywords. Nowadays, keywords are extremely crucial to the job search, but they can also be really tricky to master.
As I’m sure you know, every career field has its own set of terms or lingo that is specific to the work within the field. These terms will almost always give you a thumbs up from the ATS and recruiters.
Another great source for keywords is the job description for the positions you are applying for. Using the exact words and phrases that are in the descriptions will definitely give you an extra boost with ATS. Just make sure you don’t overstuff your resume. Try to use the most important keywords about 2-3 times throughout it, but no more than that. Yes, the more you repeat them, the higher you go in the rankings, but it’ll throw off recruiters.
Lastly, make sure your spelling is correct! Simple mistakes could cost you some valuable traction with ATS and recruiters. Spelling and grammar are such small pieces of the puzzle, but they really can make a huge impact. Sure, most resumes probably have a few mistakes here and there, but having one that doesn’t will definitely impress recruiters. So, just make sure your spell-check is on and read over your documents and you have got yourself a winning resume!