They’re not responding to your resume? Here’s why.

September 26, 2017

You see that ad and immediately say to yourself, “I’ve done pretty much that exact job before.” So, you apply, confident. How could you NOT get a response? Every qualification practically reads like your resume.

But inevitably…comes that deafening silence…

If you don’t understand what’s going on, you’re not the only one. I’m going to tell you a little secret: the ATS doesn’t understand what’s going on with YOU.

That’s right: the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) the scanning technology that the majority of employers now use to robo-screen resumes, doesn’t understand what’s on your resume, and therefore, is kicking you out…quickly.

You must be ATS-ready. Do not underestimate the importance of this. Otherwise, your resume will end up in that great black hole that is the Internet. So, let’s go over the ATS resume strategy you need in order to increase the likelihood of actually getting a human being to respond to you.

Keywords Are Critical

Here’s where the very 1st problem lies: candidates tend too often to think fake, filler keywords are real keywords. I need you to back away from being, “detail-focused,” and “results-oriented,” with good communication skills.

Instead, step up and embrace what it is you REALLY do that makes a difference for your next employer. If you’re in operations management, for example, perhaps what you do excellently time and again has to do with driving, “efficiency improvement,” “optimizing production,” and increasing, “SLA attainment.”

Then, make sure to match those keywords with how they are expressed in the ad for the job you’re targeting. For example, if the ad calls for someone with proven performance “optimizing efficiency,” then that’s how you need to express that in the resume, instead of “efficiency improvement.”

Simplicity Is Essential

The ATS resume is not where you want to be a proud peacock – it doesn’t matter how pretty your resume is. In fact, I’ll just tell you right now: things are about to get quite ugly.

All the bold, italics, colors, and every other fancy thing you have on the Word version of your resume – that’s got to go. Not some of it. Not all of it except…ALL of it.

Your ATS resume needs to read like a text document. While it’s not the most visually appealing thing in the world, release yourself of the need for beauty, and embrace the reality that this completely non-formatted version is what will make it through the ATS scanner without being kicked back immediately.

(Wrong) Formatting Is Fatal

You have to keep things simple for an ATS, because it only understands simple things. Bullets are blaring. Columns are confusing. Tables are terrible.

In a Word resume, you may want to position your experience inside a table. However, when you do that on an ATS resume, the ATS literally cannot see entire chunks of information you put inside that table.

Right now, you have the foundation. But did you know that when you put “Highlights of Experience” on your resume, you’re still killing your chances? That’s coming up in part 2.

“ATS Express!” is an all-new feature in my full online job search master class, “5 Game-Changing Job Search Hacks for the 50+ Job Hunter.” Register to see a live demonstration of an ATS transformation, so you can grab your screen shots and make sure yours is correct. And your resume may be selected for “ATS Express!”