8 Tips to Beat Applicant Tracking Systems

8 tips to beat applicant tracking systems

From the first known resume in 1482 by Leonardo DaVinci through the 1500s in England into the 20th Century and current Digital Age. Resume formats have changed dramatically over the years. Modern-day resumes must now contain a very specific format in order to beat Applicant Tracking Systems.

If you’re on the search for a new job and not getting the desired traction, your resume may not be ideal for ATS. In which case, have a read below for 8 tips to beat Applicant Tracking Systems.

#1 – Use ATS Resume Keywords Correctly.

The design of Applicant Tracking Software is to scan for keywords that relate to the job and industry. The proper usage of keywords is what sets your resume apart from others by gaining ATS high ranking. Like a high score in PacMan, ATS high ranking means your resume levels up.

Look at the job description of your ideal position. If you’re applying for a job within a specific industry, this is where you can identify the major keywords that relate to that industry or the position you seek. 

Include these keywords in a core competencies or skills section.

But be careful, one thing that’s just as bad as not having the correct keywords is over-using them. The ATS will reject an overstuffed resume as quickly as it would a resume with insufficient keywords.

#2 – Format Your Resume Correctly.

Stick to a traditional resume format at all times.

Text boxes, footers, headers, and graphics read as clutter during the scan which can result in your resume being rejected. Choose a basic format like reverse-chronological, functional or hybrid, to ensure the resume can be scanned by ATS and easy for a recruiter to read.

#3 – Send The Correct File Type

 Applicant tracking systems need to be able to scan and read your resume. The safest way to ensure that your resume will be read is to submit it in a Microsoft Word Doc file. 

Even though many of the systems are now advanced enough to read a PDF, you should still send a Doc file to be on the safe side. A Doc file is the preferred file type for both ATS and many recruiters.

You should also always check the job description to see if the employer wants a certain file type. Often times, employers will specify a certain file type, so it’s recommended to have both versions available.

#4 – Label Sections

If your layout is not done properly, the ATS may have trouble identifying where you worked, what you did, and how long you were there. We want to ensure the ATS can read the entire resume correctly. To do this, label your resume sections properly. Use subheadings such as work experience, education, and interests, etc.

Also, verify that the location, position, and length of employment information you provide is clear and consistent throughout your resume.

use a professional font

#5 – Use A Professional Font.

We can’t stress this enough, stick to a professional font. When your resume passes through ATS, the next step is recruiter review. And professional recruiters generally do not favor comic sans.

The best fonts to use for your resume are:

  • Arial
  • Calibri
  • Georgia
  • Helvetica

#6 – Make Spelling And Grammar Top-Level Priority.

Spelling errors can, and will, cause a resume to be automatically rejected. Additionally, the majority of recruiters will also dismiss a resume even if it contains only a single error.

Consider this, according to CareerBuilder, 58% of resumes contain spelling and grammatical errors. Read that again, over half of the resumes out there are a hot-mess in the actual wording department.  Join 40% of applicants that get spelling and grammar correct.

Pro-Tip: Grammerly is a wonderful tool!

#7 – Resume File Name

Yes, what you name the file matters. Even though it might get through ATS, recruiters will often ignore unprofessional resume names. Use your first and last name, or a combination of the two.

You should also add either the word “resume” or the position you seek.

Examples:

JohnS.Resume.doc

JohnSmith.Resume.doc

John.SalesManager.doc

This is also important because if a recruiter needs to go back and find you in the system, they can easily do so by searching your name in the database. This also holds true if someone is referring you. Your resume needs to be easily found should the recruiter want to pull up your file. 

#8 – Make Sure You Are Qualified For The Job.

To sum it all up, make sure you meet the qualifications of the job posting. Blindly sending out tons of resumes is a waste of your time.

It’s better to take your time and go through each job description to verify that you’re qualified. The ATS are designed to see if the candidate is a good match for the job and verify that he or she has the qualifications needed.

However, don’t be discouraged from applying for jobs where you meet most of the qualifications. If a position asks for 2 years of experience and you only have one, go for it anyway!

Patience and persistence are the names of the game now. It may take longer than you anticipated, or you could find the ideal fit quite quickly. Stay with it to step up to your next opportunity!

If all this overwhelms you…

Remember, you can always hire a professional. Whether you’re needing a Resume update, Cover Letter, Recruitment Services or LinkedIn Profile Optimization, our team at PWU has what you need.

Follow the link for a free resume review and consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

3 Simple Rules For Emailing Potential Employers

emailing potential employers

So you’ve had your cover letter, resume, and LinkedIn profile updated by a professional resume writer and you are ready to start emailing potential employers, you will need to know how to, and what to email them so your cover letter and resume get read!  Take your time to prepare for writing your email, the difference will be noticeable.  Here are 3 important tips to help you in your quest of landing your next job. 

Original article click here.

A recent survey found that over a third of HR professionals have visited social networking sites to look for information about employment candidates. Personal info and videos posted on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other sites are now considered fair game when employers conduct “background checks” on job seekers. With concerns about office security, employee theft and malicious behavior on the rise, companies want to learn as much as they can about the character of a job seeker, in addition to their capabilities on-the-job.

However, this assessment isn’t limited to social media, but also applies to every interaction you have with a company online. To put it another way, your evaluation begins with the first email you send, and continues through every communication you have with HR and the company as a whole. From an employer’s perspective, you are what you write.

This has been true for years, as employers have long judged job applicants by evaluating their resume, cover letter and other interactions with HR. But with the increased frequency and casual nature of online interaction, it’s far easier for job seekers to get trapped into careless – and potentially damaging – mistakes. So to help make sure you always write at your best, follow these three simple rules for how to email a prospective employer:

Rule 1: Be Business-Like in Employment-Related E-Mail

Always assume that all online correspondence you have with an employer is of a business nature. Email may be a casual medium, but trying to get a job is a serious activity, and should be treated that way.

    • When initiating a correspondence, err on the side of formality.

Begin your message with a standard business greeting that uses the recipient’s last name. For example, you might write: “Dear Mr. Brown.”

    • When replying to an employer’s email, follow their lead on what greeting to use.

For example, if they begin with an informal “Hi Joseph” or “Hello Joseph,” your response can do the same. But if they begin with the more formal “Dear Joseph” or “Dear Mr. Brown,” then you should reply with a more formal greeting.

    • Also follow HR’s lead on whether to use a first or last name in your greeting.

If a hiring manager signs their message with their first name, then you should use it in your greeting. If, on the other hand, they used their full name or some variation of their last name (Mr. Jones, Ms. Kay or Steven Jones, for example), then you should greet them using their last name.

Rule 2: Watch Your Tone

The tone of online communication can be easily misunderstood. In fact, one study found that nearly 50% of all emails imply an unintended (and potentially harmful) tone. How does that happen?

    • Watch out for the case you use when writing messages.

Just as nobody would like it if you shouted constantly during a conversation, over-using caps in your emails won’t go down well, either.

    • Tone is also conveyed, although more subtly, by word choice and syntax.

Make sure you select terms and phrases that can’t be read more than one way, and avoid anything that might be misunderstood if a person isn’t familiar with your way of speaking.

    • Stay away from ambiguity.

The longer and more complex your sentences get, the easier it is for them to be misinterpreted. So keep things short and precise.

Rule 3: Represent Yourself Well in Your Writing

Job seekers often make a bad impression by failing to pay enough attention to their correspondence. Carefully compose every message, and then proofread what you’ve written even more carefully before hitting send.

    • Employers are most impressed with e-mails that are articulate and to-the-point.

Multi-syllable words and complex thoughts don’t influence them as much as clearly expressed answers and simple, accurate explanations.

    • Employers don’t like bad punctuation, grammatical errors and misspellings.

This makes it look like you don’t pay attention to detail. And if you can’t be bothered to double-check something as important as an email to HR, that doesn’t say anything good about the potential quality of your work.

No one believes that a resume fully conveys all of your potential value to a company. It is, however, the key to the front door. If your resume doesn’t open the door and get you invited in for an interview, you’ll never have a chance to expand on what you’ve written.

The same is true with your online communication. Even the shortest, seemingly insignificant email between you and HR becomes a part of your record. In fact, in some cases these can have more impact on your evaluation than your cover letter and resume. Since emails are typically less formal, employers see them as a candid snapshot of who you are – and potentially how you will act as an employee.

Does that make them more important than your resume? Of course not. Your resume tells an employer what you can do. Your online messages, however, tell them who you are. And in a highly-competitive job market, how you handle emails and what you post online can mean the difference between a job offer and a rejection letter.

Author: Peter Weddle

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Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWUSA is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

How to Email a Resume and Cover Letter Attachment

Emailing your resume and cover letter
You have a fresh, well-written cover letter, your resume has never looked better and now it’s time to start sending them out so you can get a callback for an interview!  But how should you email the aforementioned documents?  This is a great how-to guide for those that may need a little help in that department.  
Original article click here.

How to Email Cover Letter and Resume Attachments

Depending on the job for which you’re applying, you may need to email your resume and cover letter to the hiring manager. Networking contacts who are helping you job search may also ask you to email your application materials so they can review them and share your resume with prospective employers.

When you apply for jobs via email, the employer may require you to send your resume and cover letter as an attachment to an email message. It’s important to send your attachments correctly, to include all the information you need so your email message is read, and to let the receiver know how they can contact you to schedule an interview. Here’s how.

How to Save a Cover Letter and Resume

When you are sending cover letter and resume attachments, the first step is to save your resume as a PDF or a Word document. This way the receiver will get a copy of the resume in the original format. You can either save your cover letter in document format or write it directly in the email message.

If you have word processing software other than Microsoft Word save your resume as a Word (.doc or .docx) document. File, Save As, should be an option in your program.

Depending on your word processing software, you may be able to File, Print to PDF, to save your documents as a PDF. If not, there are free programs you can useto convert a file to a PDF.

A PDF file retains the format of your resume and letter, so the recipient will see them as you wrote them when they open the file(s) you send.

Use your name as the file name, so the employer knows whose resume and cover letter it is i.e. janedoeresume.doc and janedoecoverletter.doc.

How to Include a Subject Line in an Email Message

The subject line is one of the most important parts of the email messages you send to apply for jobs. If you don’t include one, your message may not even get opened.

Your email message must include a subject line, and it should explain to the reader who you are and what job you are applying for. Be specific, so the recipient knows what he or she is receiving. Employers often hire for many positions at the same time, so include both your name and the job title.

Add a subject to the email message before you start writing it. That way, you won’t forget to include it afterwards.

Here’s what to write:

Subject: Your Name – Job Title

How to Write an Email Message to Send With Your Cover Letter and Resume

Once you have saved your resume and cover letter and they are ready to send, the next step is to write an email message to send with your documents.

First, open your email account. Then click on Message at the top left of the screen or click on File, New, Message.

You can either type your cover letter directly into the email message, copy and paste from a word processing document, or, if the company requests an attachment, send your cover letter and resume with the email message. So, your choices are to send a cover letter attachment or to use the email message as your cover letter.

If you are attaching a cover letter, your email message can be brief. Simply state that your resume and cover letter are attached. Offer to provide additional information and let the reader know how you can be contacted.

If you’re writing an email cover letter, review these formatting tips before you send it.

Also, be sure to follow the directions in the job posting for how to apply when sending your cover letter and resume or your application may not be considered.

 

Add a Signature to an Email Message

It is important to include an email signature with all your contact information, so it’s easy for hiring managers and recruiters to get in touch with you. Include your full name, your email address, and your phone number in your email signature, so the hiring manager can see, at a glance, how to contact you.

If you have a LinkedIn profile, include it in your signature. Do the same with any other social media accounts you use for career and business purposes.

To add your signature to your email message, click on File, Insert, Signature if you have a signature saved that you use for job searching. If you haven’t created an email signature, type your contact information (name, email address, phone, LinkedIn) at the bottom of your message.

 

How to Attach a Resume and Cover Letter to an Email Message

Once your email message is ready to send, you need to attach your resume and cover letter to your message. Click on Insert, Attach File. Your email client will display a list of files in the default file folder of your computer.

If your resume and cover letter are stored in a different folder, click on the appropriate folder.

Click to select the file you want to add to your email message, and then click on Insert to attach the document to your email message. Take the time to carefully proofread the message before you send it.

Before you click Send, send the message to yourself to be sure all the attachments come through and your email message is perfect.

Send a copy of the message to yourself, as well as to the company, so you have a copy for your records. Add yourself as a Bcc (blind carbon copy) by clicking Bcc… and adding your email address.

Then click Send, and your cover letter and your resume will be on its way to the employer.

We hope you find this article helpful and we would always like to hear your comments and questions.  Power Writers USA is here to help you with all your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and more.  Please feel to contact us.

Should you always send a cover letter?

Resume

When it comes to preparing and applying for new jobs everyone has different needs.  You may have a warm introduction for a potential new employment opportunity where a resume is merely a formality or you may be sending resumes to companies you’ve had no prior contact with.  This article from Monster.com will help you to decide whether or not it’s appropriate to send a cover letter along with your resume.

Original article click here.

Do you always have to submit a cover letter, or can you skip it? We checked in with a panel of career experts to find out.

You found an exciting new job posting and are getting ready to submit your resume, but what about a cover letter? Is it always necessary to spend time writing a cover letter, or are there times you can get away without one? We checked in with a panel of career experts to find out.

Pro: A Cover Letter Can Set You Apart

“Skip the cover letter, and you miss out on an opportunity to sell yourself,” says Evelyn Salvador, author of Step-by-Step Cover Letters: Build a Cover Letter in 10 Easy Steps Using Personal Branding and principal of Creative Image Builders, a resume-development and career-coaching firm in Coram, New York.

Sending a cover letter along with a resume helps job seekers build their brand, the same way an advertising company promotes a product’s brand. “A well-defined brand wins interviews, maximizes salary potential and puts job seekers in the top 2 percent of candidates considered for positions,” Salvador says.

Think of your cover letter as another tool in your job search arsenal, says Betty Corrado, owner of career-coaching and resume-writing firm Career Authenticity in Cos Cob, Connecticut. “The cover letter is a key part of your marketing package,” she says. “Use it as an opportunity to convey your brand and value proposition.”

Pro: Cover Letters Let You Reveal Your Personality and Build Rapport

A resume tends to be fact-based and somewhat formal, but a cover letter can be infused with personality. “Don’t be afraid to inject personal notes about interests or philosophies that may help employers determine if you will fit into their culture,” says Roleta Fowler Vasquez, professional resume writer and owner of Wordbusters in Fillmore, California. To increase the “wow” factor of their cover letters, she encourages applicants to add a few standout accomplishments that don’t appear on the resume.

Laila Atallah, a Seattle career counselor and owner of Career Counseling with a Twist, agrees that a cover letter can be more revealing than a resume. “The best cover letters are infused with energy, personality and details about the applicant’s skills and achievements,” she says. “I get a sense of the person and what they’ve accomplished, and it’s easier for me to picture them in their next job.”

Job seekers often make the mistake of sending a resume without a cover letter, says Ann Baehr, president of Best Resumes of New York in East Islip, New York. “This is a missed opportunity to establish rapport with employers and provide a sense of who they are beyond their work experience,” she says.

Thinking about skipping the cover letter when applying for an internal position? Don’t. Use the cover letter to show how well you understand your employer’s mission and remind management of how much you have already accomplished. Include a cover letter even if a colleague is submitting your resume for you. The letter is a chance to introduce yourself and mention your contact as a reminder that you are a referral. This is what a cover letter should include, should you decide to send one.

Pro: A Cover Letter Lets You Tell a Story

The cover letter can include information that would be out of place on the resume. “Job seekers can include the name of a mutual contact or referral, state how they would benefit the employer if hired and explain tricky situations such as changing careers, relocating, returning to the workforce and so on,” Baehr says.

Atallah encourages job seekers to learn about the requirements of the job opening and use the cover letter to express how and why they are uniquely qualified. “Use your cover letter to tell a story,” she says. “Studies show that stories are memorable and engaging, and cover letters are a perfect vehicle for expressing your successes in a more storylike format.”

When Not to Send a Cover Letter

Given all the reasons to send a cover letter, is it ever a good idea not to? “If the application instructions expressly say not to include a cover letter, or if an online application offers no opportunity, then you can forego the cover letter in these cases,” Atallah says.

Vasquez agrees that you should not send a cover letter when the employer specifically says not to. “This may be a test of your ability to follow directions,” she says.

What if you think the cover letter won’t be read? Corrado says that while some hiring managers say they don’t read cover letters, those who do may dismiss your application if you don’t send one. “Why take this chance when you need every possible advantage in this job market?” she asks.

While writing cover letters is time-consuming, the consensus is that the effort could give you an edge and help you land more interviews.

Article written by: Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert

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Everybody has different needs when it comes to their resumes, cover letters, CV’s etc.  Power Writers USA is here to help answer any questions you may have about your resume or having your resume crafted by a Certified Professional Resume Writer.