Are you all for getting your resume to stand out from the crowd? And are you also worried that this all-important document may not get seen by the right people? If these are concerns for you, you will want to be sure to follow the 4 key tips that will help your resume land in the right hands. Plus, even better, make this written work history distinguish you as a candidate apart and above the competition.
Technology has altered the hiring process significantly in the past 20 years—especially when it comes to resumes. Due to the overwhelming volume of responses to posted positions, 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 jobseekers 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 will 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.
By following these four tips, your resume should make it through the scanners and screeners and could well become your ticket through the door to an interview. Then you can flesh out your valuable skill sets, highlight your personal strengths, and present yourself as the valuable candidate you are. Technology plays an important role in today’s job market—but nothing beats the impact of a confident candidate with a winning attitude!
And for more tips and strategies, don’t forget to check out Land the Job You Love!