When it comes to job searching in the 21st century, many online technologies have proven to be deeply valuable assets.
But there’s something that consistently seems to hinder the success of internet candidates. It’s called Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software.
Virtually any resume you submit online will be funneled through ATS software, says Michele McCann, president of CareerPro Inc., a Newark-based resume-writing service.
In theory, the software makes sense: It pulls information from resumes to populate its own forms, then ranks each resume from most to least qualified.
But if you’re wondering about the likelihood that a lower-ranked (yet objectively deserving!) resume will reach the hands of a real human, ask yourself this: How often have you read past, say, the second page of Google results? (We thought so.)
Still, don’t panic. One key to crafting a successful resume is almost always hidden in plain sight.
“A good job description writes your resume for you,” says Jill Gugino Panté director of the Lerner Career Services Center at the University of Delaware. This may seem obvious, but Panté has seen plenty of people leave relevant skills off their resumes.
Some online applicants try to cheat ATS software unethically by overloading their resumes with keywords that have nothing to do with their own skills or qualifications, or even making keywords invisible to the human eye.
Don’t attempt such deception, Williams warns. Software is smart, so you probably won’t outwit it anyway. (“It sees everything,” McCann says.) Plus, if hiring managers catch on, all your future job prospects could be jeopardized.
So: Does all this mean resume-writing services are imperative for job seekers?
Kelly Williams, owner of Expert Resume Solutions in Newark, thinks so. “Qualified applicants slip through the cracks because their resume isn’t optimized for ATS, ” she says.
McCann agrees: “Only a professional resume writer understands the algorithms behind the ATS systems and can position your content correctly to score highly,” she says. But, resume writers “come and go very quickly,” she adds, recommending some research before committing. Read client testimonials and look into free consultations first.
BOT-BUSTING RESUME TIPS