The most important technical tips to pay attention to are:
Keywords: since ATS solutions operate by scanning a document for words and phrases which are relevant to the job description, it’s important to tailor the keywords within your resumé to the job you are applying for. If you are applying for a sales position, pepper your resumé with words that indicate this: selling, sales, negotiate, communication, and so forth. If you plan on using acronyms, ensure that you have defined the acronym when you first introduce it to your document. Acronyms are an untapped market for useful keywords. We will include a case study at the end of this article, detailing how one candidate utilised keywords effectively in order to multiple interviews in a relatively short period of time.
Formatting: ATS programs work off data, not visual cues. Resumés that have been formatted to please the human eye often confuse the electronic eye. As such, we recommend avoiding headers, footers, graphics, tables, charts, figures, images, or any other visual elements. If you wish to provide a summary of important information, use keyword-laden bullet points instead of full, wordy sentence. As we will discuss in the upcoming section, it is likely that you will need to adapt your resumé for each position you wish to apply for. By creating a simplified template, you will significantly reduce the time you spend adjusting your resumé. Select a simple, legible font such as Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri – the more exotic fonts are also known to confuse the ATS. Lastly, save your resumé in a format which is easily readable by a machine: .doc, .docx, or PDF are commonly used – however, always double-check with the application requirements.
Apply Selectively: we advise only applying to roles that you are qualified for. Both the ATS and a human reader will reject your application if your qualifications are not suited to the job specifications. Similarly, we advise against applying to every open job within a company. It is reasonable to apply for similar positions at a company but applying for positions with vastly different requirements or at different rungs of the corporate hierarchy may give the impression that you are unaware of your own skills or desires, or that you haven’t given enough thought to how you might complement the needs of the company. Remember to adjust your resumé and cover letter to the needs of the company or job requirements whenever you apply – tailor-made resumés are more likely to generate interest than generic ones.
Get Noticed by a Human: Online applications are wonderful and plentiful. However, the ‘hidden’ job market has up to half – if not more – of all available positions available so don’t forget to send your resumé to recruiters or engage with them via LinkedIn. We recently read an article that reported that over 80% of jobseekers rely on networking to land jobs, so be assured that good connections and networking skills can lead to employment. On a side note: we spoke a lot about making documents machine-readable, but it is also worth writing in a manner which is pleasant and persuasive for a human reader. People are convinced by stories, not just a string of SEO favourable terms.
Take Advantage of Social Media: Certain forms of ATS can scan social media accounts such as LinkedIn to determine which keywords and attitudes a user most-often engages with. With that in mind, you want to ensure that your professional profiles remain current with regards to the keywords, interests, and skills with which you define yourself as a potential employee. You might also consider tweaking your profile to suit a company’s most desired skills or most used keywords to boost your chances of becoming hired.
A Case Study Of A Successful Job Search
Don’t forget, we have created The Kompass Career Kickstarter, an online training tool created for people looking to land a new role or transition into a new career. To sign up to the training, head here: Kompass-Career-Kickstarter-Series