Employers are increasingly relying on technology to help make their hiring processes more efficient. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) serve as gatekeepers by doing the initial screening of potential new hires. Utilizing an ATS allows the hiring team to direct their resources elsewhere rather than spending a lot of time reading resumes for individuals who may not be a good fit for the open position. While increased efficiency is enough of a reason for employers to utilize this technology, another benefit is that it helps large employers remain compliant with Equal Employment Opportunity laws by automatically capturing applicant information.
While loved by Human Resource professionals, if a job seeker doesn’t know how to best prepare their resume for an ATS they’ll likely struggle to get noticed in the job search process. Sure signs that you’re applying for a job through an ATS include online forms and being redirected to another website to apply for the position. Also, consider the size of the hiring company. Many mid-sized to large employers utilize these systems. In fact, 90% of the jobs posted on AgCareers.com redirect the applicant to apply through an ATS.
There are easy steps job seekers can take to help get their resumes through the technology and into the hands of a hiring manager. Being prepared with the knowledge that a computer will filter your resume through keyword searches and scoring algorithms enables job seekers to build a resume that is ATS friendly.
Save the creative flair for the in-person interview. You’ll likely cringe at this sight of your stripped-down resume and think that it won’t gain any attention, but that’s ok when submitting online. ATS can get confused by logos and sometimes even bullet points. Simply send a text only version as a Word document.
Only include headers that are standard to a resume such as education, experience and skills. Remove anything that may cause an ATS to reject your application out of confusion such as introductory paragraphs and objectives.
ATS utilizes a scoring system to match keywords from the job description to an applicant’s resume. Utilizing keywords in your resume increases the likelihood of higher scoring. However, be careful not to inflate your resume by overusing key words. ATS or not, honesty is still a requirement! Use the keywords that relate to you and that you can build on by showcasing your talents and experiences.
As you should be doing anyway ensure that each online resume is customized for the open position. As mentioned in the keywords section, an ATS will pick up on keywords. So, make sure your keywords and resume content are relevant for each position you’re applying for.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in AgCareers weekly newsletter. Check out career opportunities at www.AgCareers.com.