When it comes to applying for a job, the process is no longer as simple as emailing the HR manager and hoping for a reply. The direct line between the applicant and potential employer has been severed in an attempt to streamline the process and prevent time wasters. Job listings are now posted online, and by using applicant tracking systems recruiters and HR managers have the ability to monitor and manage the process from start to finish.
The first step in this process is setting up the system to find candidates that best suit the job description and business needs.
So, how do you work your way around the middleman, and beat the applicant tracking system?
Understanding An Applicant Tracking System:
The main purpose of an applicant tracking system (ATS) is to sort through resumes and eliminate the submissions that are not suitable. This software refines the hiring process, but it can also be the reason why you’re not getting called in for interviews.
You may be missing out on opportunities because your cover letter and resume are not meeting the requirements set out by the ATS.
A recruiter will select certain keywords for an applicant tracking system to look out for. To make it through the first selection process, these keywords need to be present in your cover letter, and resume. The more keywords present, the higher your ranking, and the more inclined your submission will be to reach the desk of a real person.
To make your job search a lot easier and your resume stand out, we’ve compiled a list of tips that will assist you in beating the system.
1.) Apply For The Jobs You’re Qualified For:
By applying for jobs that you’re qualified for, you’ll ensure that your skills and experience are aligned with the requirements. Applying for jobs that you think might match your skill set, or that you are under-qualified for or lack experience will be a waste of time for all involved.
2.) Avoid Applying For More Than One Job At The Same Company:
Application tracking systems will display your application history, and if you’re spamming the company from all angles, it can be off-putting.
Be selective with your applications to ensure that you’re viewed as someone that knows what they want and are serious about being considered for the position advertised.
3.) Use The Correct Keywords:
Try to link your keywords to your career experiences. If you’re not sure about what keywords to include, reread the job description. Looking at similar listings will also give you an idea of what to mention.
If a job listing mentions certain systems or qualifications, ensure that your resume includes these where necessary. While these keywords will get you past the system, incorporating personal experiences related to it will appeal to the recruiter or HR manager reviewing the application.
4.) Incorporate Keywords in a Skills Section:
A skills section in your resume can be a more natural area to slot in the selected words without having to force them in just to make them count. It’s also an easy section to refer to from a hiring perspective, giving a potential employer the ability to have a quick glance at what you’re capable of.
If you’re compiling your first resume and aren’t sure what to include in the skills section, make use of an online template. These templates can help you to determine what you’d include, and guide you towards the relevant keywords.
5.) Keep Your Language Simple:
By keeping your language concise, clear and simple and avoiding acronyms and abbreviations your resume becomes easier for the system to understand and process. It also means that anyone reading your resume will be able to understand who you are, and what you’re capable of, without trying to decipher creative word choices.
If the industry makes use of acronyms, be sure to include the written-out version too. Another area to consider is the format and layout. Be sure to keep it simple and easy to read.
6.) Customize Your Cover Letter And Resume Per Application:
Tailoring your resume to match each listing will ensure you’re able to meet the requirements of the job description. Plus, it will help you to stand out from the crowd, as recruiters and HR managers are always looking to hire people that go the extra mile. Just ensure that the information you provide is factual and honest, and that you don’t tailor your resume towards what’s required, rather than what you’re capable of.
7.) Always Check The File Type Before Submitting:
Most online portals and job listing services will provide a list of accepted file types that the system can process. If the system can’t read your application, then it won’t be able to process it, A simple error like this could see you losing out on the opportunity of a lifetime.
Bonus Rip: Referrals and references are always well received. Naturally, you’ll showcase yourself as the perfect applicant when compiling your resume. That’s why HR managers and recruiters often seek out an unbiased opinion.
References paint a picture of who you are, and what you stand for, while a referral can give you an extra edge as someone is willing to vouch for your abilities. Some applicant tracking systems will even fast track applications that include referrals.
Making A Favorable Impression:
First impressions are everything and, in this case, the first glimpse of your resume will determine whether or not it makes it to the next stage. While we’ve given you useful tips and tricks for beating the applicant tracking system, the end result relies heavily on your work experience.
If you lack the experience, it will be evident in your resume, and no amount of fine-tuning will be able to replace this skills gap. Respect the time of all involved, and only apply for jobs you’re qualified for. There’s a difference between ensuring you’re noticed for the right reasons, and beating the system simply because you can.