Going by the statistics alone, chances are you have not been chosen for an interview that you should have been, meaning you have missed out on an opportunity. What do I mean by that? Well 72% of resumes submitted to jobs are read by an Application Tracking System and of those 75% are immediately disqualified, even if a person has the right experience!
To me, as a career coach and resume writer, those stats are just downright scary. To a job searcher you may feel like it is a losing battle and will either stay put in a boring job or settle for any old offer because you think that dream job is out of reach.
I don’t want that and you don’t want that, so I did the work and the research. I’ve listened to podcasts, read countless articles, reached out to Talent Acquisition friends to find out what you need to do to optimize your resume and your LinkedIn profile in order to get noticed!
First off, what is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), well it is a computer system that reviews and compares your resume (and sometimes LinkedIn) to the job description and gives you a grade based on how you match up. Then the candidates are ranked and a list is created that is sent over to the recruiter who then scans through the ones that scored the highest, on average only about 25% of the total number of applicants.
To start off, I wanted to caution against coming up with some sort of wacky workaround just to get seen. At the end of the day a person will eventually review your resume. Some scams I’ve seen are filling white spaces on your resume with keywords in white so that they aren’t seen by a person but will be picked up by the ATS, sneaking keywords in (like learning to code in Java) and filling out your experience with keywords and nothing else. The thing is though, you still won’t get interviewed if you aren’t a qualified match for the job whether the ATS puts you through or not!
So I sorted through all my research and have compiled a list of how to optimize your resume and LinkedIn profiles. Make sure you read to the end, there is some key information at the bottom of each section.
How to Optimize Your Resume
How To Optimize LinkedIn
So I know a lot of people optimize LinkedIn for recruiters and some have started to optimize for ATS but there are some things I’ve discovered in my research in talking with my peers within large organizations that I haven’t seen or heard about in my research. I’ll start with the basics of what you need to do with your profile and then go into the new findings.
After you have done the above, do a search. Plug in the keywords and job title of the role you applied for. Narrow down on location. And see where you land. If you land on the 3rd or later page, then you have work to do. The goal is to end up on the first or second page.
Okay, you have done all the hard work on filling your resume and LinkedIn with relevant information and keywords and you still didn’t get the call. Well there could be another reason. A new function on some of the Application Tracking Systems is to scan your connections and your engagement. I know what you are thinking – what?! I know I thought that too. The reason for this is to establish how well connected you are within the industry. They want to see a decent number of connections and they want to see a good amount of connections within the industry. They also want to see how engaged you are within the industry, so are you liking or commenting on relevant posts and are you posting content/status updates relevant to the industry.
Now I’m not suggesting you go out there and engage and connect with everyone within any industry for every job you have applied to. If you have completed my 5 day email course then you will know that I’m a big believer in focusing your work where it matters. So if there is a specific company within a specific industry (or even just a specific industry) that really excites you start there. Also, through my course, you know that I am also a big believer of networking and leveraging LinkedIn for that purpose. So by using LinkedIn to reach out to people within a specific industry and then engaging on their shares/updates and posts or commenting on articles they have also commented on, not only are you increasing your network as it looks to the ATS but you are creating valuable connections that will help lead the way to a fulfilling career!
I hope those tips help. Let me know – engage on my Facebook page or through LinkedIn. If you want to sign up for my free email course you can do so below or my clicking here.
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Sara Curto, Career Management Specialist. Working with you towards Career and Job Search Success.