5 Steps to Higher Ranked Resumes in Applicant Tracking Systems

5 Steps to Help Your Resume Stand out in Applicant Tracking Systems

Back in the 1990’s when job boards were emerging and you were looking for employment in Asheville or any other city, you only had to send your resume and wait for a call back.

Finding employment in Asheville was a much easier and faster experience for the job seeker.  As you can imagine, the recruiters received hundreds of resumes and they had to sift through all of them to find the right candidate for the open positions.  This was time consuming and non-productive for the recruiter and sometimes your resume, even if you were qualified 33got over looked.

Fast forward to the 21st century. As most of you know by now, applying for a job is neither fast nor easy.  When you apply to a job online you are taken through a nightmarish series of questions, and of course, yet again, you are required to sign up with a username and password for each company you apply with.  Most online employment systems require that you import your resume as well.  Once you do all this work you expected a phone call back, right? Well, that will probably not happen and here is why.

How can you ensure you are part of the applicants that are chosen for consideration?

The application tracking system will specifically look for the keywords that were shared in the job description. You must incorporate these keywords into your resume.

By following a strategic approach to writing the resume in a way that incorporates the job description’s keywords (think: ‘manager’, ‘sales’, ‘administrative’, etc….whatever is used to describe the job opening).

Here are 5 steps to writing your resume and ensure that it ranks near the top when the recruiters search their database of candidates:

1. Make sure you read the job description, closely. If you have 50 – 60% of the qualifications, apply. Most of the time the job descriptions are written with everything they would love to have a candidate, but they know most candidates don’t have it all. What they really want is a trainable candidate. If you have most of the skills they need, they can teach you the rest.

2. After you read the job description. Make a list of key words in that job description that match your skill set and sprinkle the same words or phrases into your resume. Don’t be too obvious, but using the exact words will allow the ATS system to pick up on the vital skills that match what the company is looking for. There are a lot of things that will make or break your application. However, one of the biggest factors is keywords.

3. Use normal fonts. No color font, just black and don’t use images on the resume you send through the ATS systems. Most of the algorithms won’t be able to decipher your resume if it is uploaded this way. Use fonts that are specially designed for the web; like, – Arial, Georgia, Impact, Courier, Lucinda, Tahoma.

4. If you really think you are qualified and you really want the job, follow up with the employer. Use Linkedin to research who the contact is in the company.

Suggestion: Insure that you first create a great LinkedIn profile yourself.  Many LinkedIn users have their settings such that they can see who has looked at their profile…and they then go visit those profiles – so look your best.

It’s best to make a phone call to the Human Resources department or the recruiter. When you take the initiative to reach out this shows a greater level of confidence and interest. If you do this they will usually search the ATS for your resume and you have a greater chance of finding employment in Asheville.

5. Do the first 4 steps for every job you apply for and customize your resume with key words that describe your skills and experience based on the specific job descriptions to get more results in your job search. Sounds like a lot of work, but it will pay off in the end. Make sure you check your spam folder. ATS systems sometimes send out messages that give you further instructions. This will most likely go into your spam folder.

The job search process can be difficult, frustrating, time-consuming, but it can also be exciting. Don’t ever let technology stand between you and a job you really want. Follow these steps, stay focused and determined. Now that you know how to make the ATS work for you. If you change your approach you can be on your way to landing that new job and be one of the chosen few.

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