Here's what to do.
As job seekers begin to dive back into the #jobsearch process, many will have to be prepared to explain any gaps in their employment history. Whether your break in employment was because of personal reasons, the #Coronavirus pandemic, illness, or termination, here are some strategies to addressing gaps on your resume. If you'd like to read the full article on how to explain resume gaps, click here!
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Resumes That Appeal To Robot Recruiters
Your resume will not be seen by humans eyes first. And when it does reach a human for review, recruiters spend only six seconds on each one (if they read it at all). But the majority of resumes will never reach a human because the robot recruiter will reject a large number of them.
The robot recruiter is better known as an application tracking system (ATS). With the filtering algorithms of an ATS deciding whether you will ever get a call back for that first interview, it's important for job-seekers to know how to write a resume that will have robotic appeal.
Lets examine what is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)? Most Employers who deal with high volume applicants rely on the ATS to sort through the hundreds or even thousands of resumes that they may receive for just one job posting. This process allows hiring managers to enter a command in the ATS to find candidates that have the qualifications, skill-sets, education and other critical elements required for success with a posted position that should be considered for the next step in the hiring process. The machine keeps all the important information for each applicant that it receives from the submitted resumes. From this large amount of submissions, 75 percent of job applicant's resumes are rejected before a hiring manager ever looks at them.
Finding Approval of a Robot Recruiter
Your resume should be written with the ATS in mind. Be honest when stating your experience and credentials, but there are ways to represent your background that will appeal to a robot recruiter. Here are six things to remember:
1.) Keywords Are Key
Something as simple as using a different tense or phrase could eliminate your CV from the review. For example, if you wrote, “Managed project from design to implementation,” and the hiring manager searched for, “project manager,” you might not come up in the search results even though you are describing the same responsibility. To try to increase the chances of your resume getting in front of the recruiter or hiring manager, be sure to use the exact phrases and keywords that were used in the job posting. And, don’t try to fool the system. Keywords should be included in your resume very naturally. If you try to cheat the system by stuffing keywords or including “invisible” keywords by changing the text to white, the hiring manager will see through these tactics on the other end of the system (even if you bypassed the algorithm).
2.) Research To Improve Your Odds If You Know The ATS System
All the ATS may have the same objective, screen applicants to streamline work for humans, they may do it in different ways. If the name of the ATS is available to you as a candidate, do a quick Google search to see if there is any information available to help you adjust your resume to better suit the system you are applying to. For example, if you find out that the system used by the employer you are applying is known to rank resumes with the keyword multiple times, try to include that keyword naturally, multiple times in your resume.
3.) Match Your Resume To The Posted Job Description
In addition to including keywords, be sure your resume matches as many aspects of the job description as possible. If the job posting includes responsibilities for leadership, project management and budgeting ensure your resume also includes these areas if they pertain to your own experience. Again, honesty is imperative so you shouldn’t include an example of budgeting if that hasn’t been a part of your work experience. However, if you have any sort of experience that you would be comfortable using in an interview to explain why you are the right candidate for this position, align your resume with the job responsibilities. Also, if you had a job title for a previous employer that was creative but could be misunderstood by a bot, such as Director of Getting Things Done, switch it to something more easily understood such as Project Manager.
4.) Carefully, Choose File Type And Formatting
Unfortunately, PDFs are not always bot friendly, so while a PDF would maintain the formatting of your resume, it might not pass through the ATS. Follow the instructions for file format if they are given in the job posting; if not, play it safe and submit a resume as a Word document. While charts, images, and logos are appealing to a human reviewer, bots have a hard time translating them. Clean and straightforward formatting is preferred such as solid circles for bullet points.
5.) Don't Put Critical Info In Headers And Footers
Some systems aren’t able to extract info from headers and footers. Make all crucial information about your background and experience is included in the main body of your resume to provide easy access to the robots.
6.) Human Touches Are Still Important
An email or a handwritten note sent, could bring your name to the attention of the hiring manager. You might pique their interest enough to have them do a little more digging for your credentials if you weren’t part of the ATS’ search results. A little human touch might mean the difference in a competitive and critical process.
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It can be hard to look at our skills in a realistic light. Whether we underestimate or overestimate our abilities, the affect on job seeking success if you're not clearly seeing what you're good at can be massive.
This video examines why it's so hard to evaluate yourself and what you can do to get a clearer picture of your aptitudes.