When you apply for a job, you want to make it clear that you are a great fit. Since most companies use electronic application processes, you need to take certain steps to ensure you aren’t screened out early. Then, you need to consider how a variety of people may view your resume beyond the hiring manager. Otherwise, you might not make it to the hiring manager’s desk.
Luckily, making yourself an obvious pick isn’t as complicated as it appears. If you want to increase your odds of being selected, here’s what you need to do.
Survive the ATS
Most electronic applications are first screened by an applicant tracking system (ATS). The software scans each resume to look for very specific criteria, usually a set of keywords selected by the hiring manager. It can only examine for verbatim matches as an ATS often doesn’t have the ability to analyze whether a different phrase means the same thing.
In order to make it past the ATS, you need to use the right words in your resume. Examine the job ad and look at how each requirement is phrased. Then, use the exact same terminology when you describe your capabilities in your resume, as that is typically a reflection of the keywords that were selected.
Speaking to Professionals Outside of the Niche
When you create a resume, you may be tempted to add industry or job-related jargon to show your comfort level with the field. However, those terms can be confusing to people who don’t work those in that specialty, including HR professionals and some recruiters.
In some cases, after getting passed the ATS, your resume will be reviewed by an HR staff person or recruiter who determines if it should move up to the hiring manager. Since they might not understand jargon that relates to your field or the nuances of the role, you need to avoid terminology that isn’t widely familiar.
For example, spell out phrases instead of using acronyms unless the acronym is in the job posting. Additionally, describe your skills and experience using phrases that are widely known. This makes it easier for the HR professional or recruiter to see that you are a match, increasing the odds that your resume will be sent to the hiring manager.
Highlight Your Capabilities in the Right Way
When you craft your resume, you need to target the content to the role. Examine the job ad and make sure that you touch on all of your experiences and skills that speak to the requirements, ideally relating them to accomplishments and quantifying the details for additional context.
Additionally, use the proper resume format to bring attention to the right areas. Include a professional summary that focuses on the most critical must-haves (usually those near the top of the requirements list). Use bullet points to separate each achievement and to draw the eye. Bold your previous job titles or section headers to make the content easier to skim. Use plenty of white space to ensure your resume isn’t overwhelming to review.
The idea is to make sure that the points that show you are an obvious pick for the job attract the eye and that there is a clear flow. That way, the hiring manager can find out what they need to know quickly, making it more likely that you’ll be called in for an interview.
Looking for a new job?
If you would like to find out more about showcasing yourself as a great candidate, the team at TRC Staffing Services can help. Contact us to speak to a member of our staff today and see how our job search expertise can benefit you.