I’m sure you’ve heard that you should sprinkle your resume with keywords to make it stand out to recruiters. But the resume review process is changing. The first review of your resume is often done by a software program, known as an applicant tracking system (ATS). In order to get your resume in front of actual human eyes, you’ll need to know what the system is looking for.
The advice to fill your resume with keywords may soon be outdated because there’s a lot more to searching and matching than ever before. “It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile, where if you put in ‘Java’ (as a keyword search, an ATS) would automatically apply you to Java jobs,” expert Lisa Rowan said in an old article I found. Older ATS software originally counted keywords to match applicants with positions. Now, according to Matt Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass, the software goes much deeper and examines factors such as how useful is a given set of skills and where in the applicants career path did they acquire experience in a subject area.
Resume contextualization analyzes not just a keyword but also its relation to elements, including relevant and related terms, the depth of the experience and how recent the experience was in a candidate’s career path. The software is now looking for keywords like “Java” to be framed by descriptive material that demonstrates a level of familiarity with the program. For example, you should add when you learned it and your strengths within the program. ATS makes a distinction between someone who took a single Java class 8 years ago and someone who’s been programming for years. The list of keywords will no longer be effective, but the presence of these keywords in resumes is still necessary.
When writing a resume that will be evaluated by an ATS, make sure it is not overly formatted, as that can often be incompatible with the software. When an applicant fills his resume with pictures, graphics and logos; headers and footers it can make it difficult for the software to read and sort the text into categories or cause it to crash altogether. Be sure you don’t include your contact information in your header or footer, this can cause the program to crash as well.
Technology to help?
It may seem like a whole new skill set to learn, but don’t let this new software overwhelm you. Products like Preptel’s Resumeter is an ATS emulator that will score your resume and tell you where it ranks against the job description. It will also tell you how to improve your score, let you know what keywords to add, and any other changes that need to be made. It’s $25 a month for this service. Visit Preptel’s website today to find out more.
The applicant tracking system program is changing the way people are connected with jobs. Keywords are still a crucial part of a resume, but now they must be framed in a way that shows a level of skill. If you are searching for a role in accounting, administration, finance, human resources, marketing or operations in the San Francisco Bay Area, call us today. Menlo Partners Staffing, a Peninsula based temporary staffing and employment agency (650)752-6193.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/archangel27/2386761216/ (Archangel27)