4 Critical Tips to Get Your Resume Past Scanners & Screeners
Jobseekers over 50 have long recognized that technology has significantly altered the process for finding work. This is especially true when it comes to resumes. Most mid- to large-sized companies are now using applicant tracking systems to perform a first-level screening of incoming resumes.
Although the software has been around for a while, many are unaware of how it works. This mistake can be costly because applicant tracking systems process today’s massive numbers of resumes, whittle them down to a manageable size, and select only those that are suitable to pass along to reviewers and recruiters. Therefore, as a savvy applicant, you should presume that the resume you submit to an online posting will be screened in or out by this software.
In order to ensure your resume gets passed along, you’ll need to:
Learn the rules of the game. Applicant tracking systems are programmed to allow only those resumes that match the search criteria (i.e. keywords) to make it through the screening process and eventually wind up on the recruiter’s computer screen. If yours does not reflect what they’re looking for, it will disappear into the black hole of cyberspace—unseen by human eyes.
Give them what they want. You’ll need to match your skill sets to the skills advertised in the posting. Whatever you put on your resume needs to be 100% truthful, however it is your decision as to which skills you choose to emphasize. So ignore your creative urges and repeat the words you find in the posting. Remember—software cannot make assumptions—your resume needs to duplicate the advertised skills as closely as possible.
Placement is Important. If your resume makes it through the screening process of the applicant tracking software, it will eventually be viewed by a human screener/recruiter. Most reviewers claim to give resumes only a 30-second scan to determine whether or not they are worth reading. Therefore your key skills and experience need to be readily visible and literally leap out at the reader. This means you’ll not only need to match the skills/keywords in the ad but also place them at the top of your resume, surrounded by plenty of white space, and using bullet points to catch the eye.
Ask yourself the “so what” question. Although keywords and skills are critical to getting through the initial screening process, you’ll need to sell the reviewer on your abilities by stressing your accomplishments. Asking yourself “so what” after each bulleted statement on your resume will help you focus on the positive results you’ve achieved.
For cutting-edge tips and strategies that will give you the edge over the competition and help you present yourself as the valuable candidate you are, I invite you to check out Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50.
Technology plays an important role in today’s job market—but nothing beats the impact of a confident candidate with job search savvy and a winning attitude. And, armed with the right information, this could be you!