Strategize Before You Click Submit

Lifelete Fundamental

April 16, 2015

Job search engines have streamlined the application process. With a single resume uploaded to any particular site you can simply click “apply” for any job posting you like and your work is done, right?

Conducting the application process online has some obvious advantages for both employers and career seekers, mainly efficiency and access. With just the click of a button, employers gain access to hundreds of potential candidates. Likewise, job seekers can apply for multiple positions in just a matter of minutes. However, increased access presents one lesser-known disadvantage – saturation.

Employers have already taken steps to reduce time spent sifting through a saturated pool of candidates by utilizing Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Yes, a robot will be reading your resume. According to Business Insider, larger companies like Google receive up to 75,000 applications per week. In these situations, ATS serves as the gatekeeper, where only the resumes that pass all the search features of the system will go on for review by an actual hiring manager – the rest will never be viewed by human eyes.

ATS does not always recognize images, tables, abbreviations or resumes sent as a PDF. Thus, the hours you spend dressing up your resume in attempt to stand out from the crowd have actually made you invisible to the robot reading your resume.

With the advent of ATS, the challenge posed for job seekers is to make your resume “fit in” with the robot crowd, and make yourself “stand out” to hiring managers.

Follow these tips below to ensure you are both efficient and effective in your application process:

  • Target your resume to each position by including all keywords and job requirements listed in the job positing.
  • Eliminate any visuals or unusual fonts/formatting from your resume.
  • Before you click submit, know whom your resume will go to after ATS processing.
  • Do your research on the company and be prepared to discuss how your skills will add value to that organization.
  • Reach out to the hiring manager after applying online. Make yourself stand out and show initiative by sending a personalized cover letter and resume.
  • Get personal. Request time to speak with the hiring manager about the position. You can use LinkedIn to see if you share any common interests with potential employers.