These days, it isn’t enough to create a résumé that can catch the eye of hiring managers. Today’s résumés must also satisfy the increasingly effective screening process of applicant tracking systems (ATS) designed to weed out gaudy résumés with little real substance. The trick is, sometimes developing a résumé for one purpose can neglect the other.
This trend is ultimately a plus for both employers and job seekers. No longer will you have to convince hiring managers of your prerequisites or overwhelm them with boosted anecdotal evidence. Meanwhile, employers can trust the résumés that do make it through the ATS screen will be up to par and worthy of consideration. It’s a win-win—as long as both candidates and employers keep a few points in mind.
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Check out this 4 ways applicant tracking helps employers and job seekers
1. Unqualified applicants need not apply
The ATS makes it difficult to fudge work experience. If you don’t have the prerequisite five years in the industry, for example, your application probably won’t make it past the initial screen. However, lying on your résumé doesn’t make you look any better. Candidates who lack proper credentials would be better off reaching out directly to the hiring manager and explaining themselves. On the other hand, applicants with the necessary credentials can be confident they’ll have a fair shot at the job.
2. The same goes for keyword-stuffers
Some ATS can rank résumés by examining them for certain traits, as indicated by keywords chosen by the user. The best résumés will highlight certain attributes like “improved,” “achieved,” and “managed,” according to Forbes. Having said that, keywords aren’t enough to land the job—résumés loaded with optimized phrases but little evidence or anecdotes might get past the software, but not the hiring team. Use a few well-placed keywords, but don’t lean on them too heavily. The right ATS will prevent an employer from receiving applications that are full of keywords and little else.
3. Unnecessary info is no longer a distraction
It’s time some applicants face the cold, hard truth: Your high school debate team victories may not have much bearing on your résumé ten years later. Additionally, candidates who try to boost themselves up by listing every odd job, volunteer hour, and random connection may find those methods are no longer effective. Employers—and their ATS—will assume latest three positions reflect candidates’ experience and trajectory. Mashable pointed out that chunky graphics, unconventional markers like arrows, and non-standard fonts can also cause an otherwise solid résumé to fall flat. The ATS prevents those unwieldy résumés from ever getting to the hiring manager—and compels applicants to step up their game.
4. Important traits rise to the top
Unnecessary information gets in the way of the items that matter: the actual list of skills. A candidate’s skill set is the thing that can separate him or her from the rest of the pack, both for an ATS and an employer. Anything that can be considered a skill, from speaking a foreign language to familiarity with HTML to command over Microsoft Office, will stand out on résumés vetted by an ATS.
Think of an ATS as an extra set of eyes on your résumé—one that won’t let mistakes slide. Now, it’s even more important to optimize a résumé so it can reach the employer’s desk.
About Jessica Holden
Jessica Holden is a Product Implementation Specialist at Berkshire Associates. If you are interested in Berkshire’s automated applicant tracking system, BALANCEtrak, visit: www.balancetrak.com.
To learn more about applicant tracking best practices check out the BALANCEview HR Blog.