Innovation is inevitable across all aspects of life. Even when it comes to job hunting, new technologies are making a big change on how things are done. As jobseekers are finding the right tools online to make their job search easier and faster, job hunters are also equipping themselves with platforms that make it more convenient for them to screen hundreds upon hundreds of applications.
To address this, most companies are now using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to automate the screening process by matching job requirements with applicants’ qualification. Unfortunately for applicants, this can make landing the job harder than usual.
Applicant Tracking Systems: A friend or a foe?
Ever since the proliferation of online job boards, the number of applications per job posting has skyrocketed. In fact, According to ERE, each job posting gets an average of 250 resumes, with recruiters spending only an average of about 6 seconds reviewing each application. Because of this, applicant tracking systems have been helping recruiters and employers a great deal in screening applications by letting them search for keywords that are deemed relevant for a certain job vacancy.
With just a few clicks, recruiters can now select a handful of potential candidates from a pile of applications, without even having to give a good look on resumes. While this effectively narrows their search, this can leave poorly-written resumes out of the cut, even if the person behind that resume is supposedly well-fit for the job.
By merely understanding how ATSs work, you can instantly make it your new best friend and land an interview for each if not most of the applications you send.
Use keywords to make your resume pop!
Since Applicant Tracking Systems primarily use keyword search to filter out potential candidates, your resume will have to possess relevant phrases and keywords that are most likely to be used by recruiters.
Take Lucas, for example. Lucas has been working as “Line Cook” for the same restaurant for the past five years, with a few more jobs from different restaurants for the same role. Throughout his tenure as line cook, he was able to show real expertise and has been delegated bigger responsibilities. He is even appointed as the substitute for the Kitchen Manager whenever he’s away, providing Lucas with experience in food prep supervision and shift scheduling and management.
At this point, Lucas felt he is now ready to find new opportunities and has sent out applications for Kitchen Manager vacancies in the city. However, his resume only focused on his past 3 jobs as line cook. Do you think Lucas will be able to get an interview?
You’ll need to effectively describe your most relevant experiences for the position you’re applying for. In the case of Lucas, he should not only focus on his “Line Cook” experience, but more importantly, his resume should highlight the duties and responsibilities that he has been able to carry out whenever he fills in for their Kitchen Manager.
While the internet can be a solid resource in doing your research, taking input from your colleagues in the field will also play an important role. Certain companies may use different keywords within their workplace when referring to the same concept, so knowing which words are preferred in your prospective company can serve as an advantage.
Increase your chances of getting interviews
The first real sign that you’re doing right by your resume preparation is when you start getting invited for interviews. To ensure your resume is aligned with what they’re looking for, check the job posting itself. Most of the time, recruiters will already have given out the relevant keywords for that vacancy:
- Description of the job from the company’s career page
- Key competencies and skills as described in the job portal
- All you must do is use the same keywords and place them strategically on your resume
Make it a point to understand the job advertisement. Look for the requirements and make sure that this is matched with your qualifications. If it does, emphasize these matches on your resume and make it obvious that you are the perfect match.
So, don’t forget to do your research!
Research is an integral part of job hunting that a lot of job seekers forget to do. Don’t attempt to get in an organization that you have no idea about. Running a simple Google search can provide you with top-level knowledge in what a company does, what lines of businesses they’re running, and what issues they are currently facing, in which you could weigh in your expertise.
Research is also an effective way to find a connection. Through research, you may be able to know what inventory systems is being used by your prospective employer. You’ll never know, you might have solid experience using the same system, which could work to your advantage.
With the recruitment process becoming smarter, you should also be smarter by preparing an attractive resume that will get captured even when an ATS is the one “reading” it. Through adequate research, you can make sure that every application you send is in line with the company’s needs and are within your range of expertise and experience.
Additionally, when you do your research, you should also remember to be organized. You’re bound to be sending out applications to several possible future employers and there’s a risk of mixing information. To prevent this, make sure that you organize your research well.