The 6 Seconds Rule – That is the amount of time human recruiters spend on each resume on an average. This applies to the resumes that actually make it to the human review. In order to get there, resumes should get through the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) and the algorithms that are in place to screen these resumes. Therefore, it is important to understand that it is going to be an uphill battle that your resume will be subjected to in order to get you to a telephonic interview and to get there, it is crucial that you know how to write a resume that appeals to the robot recruiters.
Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
Most of the organizations today that deal with volume hiring depend on Applicant Tracking Systems to screen through thousands of resumes that they may receive for one position. The simple way to look at the ATS is to consider it as a portal where each applicant has a profile that includes aspects such as their contact details, academic and employment details, their skills and other credentials. The recruiters can then use filters to screen through such profiles based on skills or experience level or a combination of factors. The ATS only does the job of compiling the available data and filtering the applicants based on the inputs of the recruiter. The industry average for rejection at the ATS is pegged at 75% before the resumes reach the hiring managers.
How To Convince The Robot Recruiter
Resumes or CVs should be written with these robot recruiters in mind. While you must state true facts with respect to your academics or employment credentials, there are ways to impress these robot recruiters.
1. Keywords: When it comes to the question of keywords to be used on a resume, something as simple as a change in tense could save your resume from being rejected by the ATS. For example: If you have written “Developed software for XYZ client” on your resume and the recruiter searched for “Software Developer” on the ATS, your profile might not show up in this filter though you have mentioned the same responsibility. To avoid this from happening to your resume and ensuring that your resume reaches the human recruiter or the hiring manager, it is essential that you use the exact phrases that the industry recruiters may look for. Keywords that you use should gel with the rest of the content. If you try outsmarting the system by stuffing keywords or including invisible keywords through white text or text behind images, the hiring managers would eventually find that out during the manual screening.
2. Market Research: Most of the Applicant Tracking Systems work on similar concepts, some use basic algorithms while others complicated. There are some which try bringing in AI into it. While applying, try to figure out the ATS engine that the firm uses. If you look hard you could find names such as “Taleo” or “Hirecraft” for example on the user interface. Once you know the name of the engine that the organization uses, do a quick search on the internet to find out how the software works and fine-tune your resume accordingly. For example: If you know that the ATS engine that you are applying into uses the frequency of keywords for ranking the profiles, ensure that the keywords are used on your resume multiple times and at the same time gelled into the content. This will ensure that your resume gets through the automated filter and reaches the hiring manager.
3. Job Description: Read the job description at depth if available. If you do not have a job description to refer to, ask the recruiter or the hiring manager for one. Most often than not, the keywords are picked up from the job description. You will therefore be in a position to identify the keywords the organization uses. Apart from using the keywords, ensure that your resume is in sync with the job description. For example, if the job description talks about project management and team management, ensure that these aspects are part of your work experience on your resume. It is essential that you quote these with instances. This adds credibility to your statement. Even if it is borderline match, try and bring that into your resume by adding instances which are related to the job description. Also ensure that your job title across the previous organizations are in sync with the job description.
4. File type: Word and PDF files are the most ATS friendly files. However, when you use these files, ensure that the text format remains as text and not images. Image files do not get read by the ATS. While it is essential that you use image files, charts and graphs to make the resume attractive and convey the right message to the hiring manager, it is also essential that the same data points are replicated in text to ensure that it gets read by the ATS.
5. Headers and Footers: Crucial data points should not be placed on the header or footers of the document. Most ATS engines do not read the data on the headers and footers. So, having information such as your contact details or name on the headers or footers will work against the ATS and the possibilities of rejection will be higher.
6. Personal Touch: The human touch always helps, while you have put in all the efforts to ensure that your resume gets through the ATS, a personalized cover letter to the hiring manager brings in the human component into the equation. After all who doesn’t like a bit of personal content in a monotonous task?
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