Why Resumes Must Be ATS Compatible

why resumes must be ats friendly

To have the best results on your job search, we took a look into why resumes must be ATS compatible. Applicant Tracking Systems, you’ve heard of them, probably even had a resume (or many) scanned by them.

While the task of job searching has changed dramatically over the years, fortune now favors the strategized resume and digital communication channels.

OLD WAYS: A company posts an ad and receives 100 applicants. 

HR then spends an entire day sorting through all these resumes to select a handful of potential interviewees.

NEW WAYS: A company posts an ad and receives 100 applicants. 

Files are auto-loaded into ATS software. Then scanned and sorted according to keywords, experience, and education. Depending on the company, resumes deemed fit for interview are then forwarded either directly to HR Departments or Corporate Recruiters.

All This Before The Document Is Ever Seen By Human Eyes.

The system itself operates in a hierarchy. High ranks are awarded to resumes that check the most automated boxes. This means that no matter how qualified you are if your resume is not ATS friendly, it is very likely you will never be invited to discuss your qualifications in an interview.

How to play the game.

First off, the overall use of Applicant Tracking Systems has increased dramatically in the last few years. According to Zipjobs, 95% of large companies use ATS for all hiring purposes. And if you’re applying within a mid-sized company, you’re looking at a 50/50 chance that your resume will make an ATS connection.

large and mid size companies use applicant tracking systems

Corporate Recruiters.

Recruiters use applicant tracking systems as a tool to stay organized and speed up their placements. In fact, once again referring to ZipJob, some stats show up to 75% of recruiters are using applicant tracking software. Of that percentage, 94% believe the software improves their hiring efficiencies.

All Credentials Must Be In a Machine-Readable Format.

A few resume focus points are listed below:

  • Keyword Usage
  • Basic Formats
  • File Type
  • Organized Sections
  • Professional Font
  • Spelling and Grammer
  • Correct File Name

If you’re looking for more specific ATS resume tips, check out our LinkedIn article on 8 Tips To Beat Applicant Tracking Systems.

Want the big picture?

Take a look at these stats! This graphic really shows what your resume is up against when you apply for a job.

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. Feel free to connect if you have any questions.

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

Thinking About Working With a Job Recruiter?

Recruit me!

A job recruiter can be a powerful ally when it comes to you finding the right job.  But don’t mistake a recruiter for a career coach who will give you strategic guidance and a greater clarity of purpose for your career.  Recruiters are in business to get people hired. 

Recruiters typically work in 2 capacities, Internal and External.   Internal recruiters, also known as “corporate” recruiters, work inside the employer’s organization and usually collect a paycheck (salary) from the employer who has the jobs open.

Their office will typically be on the employer’s premises, and their email and phone will typically be part of the employer’s email and phone system. So, their email will probably be Jane.Doe@[employer] or possibly HR@[employer], recruiting@[employer], or something similar. To reach them by phone, you may call the employer’s main number and then ask for their extension, or you may call them directly.

External recruitersalso known as “independent” recruiters, do not receive a paycheck from the employer who has the open jobs. They work for someone else, a recruiting firm or agency, which issues their paychecks. Some, of course, work for themselves. None are on the payroll of the employer with the open jobs.

How to Work with Internal Recruiters

Very carefully. They are not “on your side” in this process. No matter how friendly, they are not your friend (yet). Always present your “best” self to them. Do not confide in them, or ask them to do you any favors. Be professional and business-like in all your communications with them. Wear your interview outfit if you are invited in for a meeting with them.

Typically, they are your official contact for the process. So, when you have questions or concerns, you are usually advised to contact the recruiter. Be careful not to abuse this contact function because it can have a negative impact on your opportunity with that employer. Do you best to avoid the “difficult-to-work-with” label, because that will greatly reduce (if not eliminate) your opportunities inside that organization.

How to Work with External Recruiters

The best part about working with an external recruiter is that you both usually have the same goal — getting you placed with the employer. Again, don’t tell them your deepest secrets, but do be honest with them about your interests and experience. If you have gaps or other issues, they may be able to help you strategize a way to present yourself in the best light.

Don’t expect them to help you figure out what you want to do, but do expect them to provide you with some insight into what is going on inside the employer’s organization – what the “hot” issues are, who are apt to be your allies in the hiring process, and who the real decision makers are.

After you have been in for an interview, they may be your primary source of information on what is going on “behind the curtain” during the often extended hiring process. Try very hard not to drive them crazy with daily calls, but do stay in touch.

If you land a job through an external recruiter, be sure to send them a thank you. A good relationship with an external recruiter can be an asset to your career for many years. Connect with them on LinkedIn. Send cards during the holidays. Refer top performers you know to these external recruiters to strengthen your relationship with them and help them to remember you with positive feelings.

Connect with Recruiters

Most external recruiters, and many internal recruiters, are open to LinkedIn connection invitations. Being connected to as many people as possible in LinkedIn is an advantage to them because it enables them to do a substantial amount of research in LinkedIn without paying the extra fee LinkedIn likes to collect from recruiters.

Recruiters often use LinkedIn Groups to find, connect with, and monitor good potential candidates, so join the professional and industry associations appropriate for your career. (Huffington Post).

When it comes to your job search you will probably want to exhaust your resources to give yourself the greatest opportunities.  Working with a recruiter may be a good way to do that.

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