You know recruiters receive hundreds of applications for most job descriptions, so what can you do to stand out?
First, fit in.
Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are algorithms configured to help recruiters screen candidates. More than 200 companies make ATS software, and recruiters configure each algorithm specifically for the job description. The sheer ambiguity of it all can make your head spin, right?
The best way to ensure your resume will align with the specific ATS configuration you’re applying to is to use keywords from the job description in your resume content.
Here’s a step-by-step process to ensure your resume has the right keywords to “pass the ATS.”*
- As a quick aside, beware of online ATS scanners that offer to review your resume. Unless the algorithm was provided explicitly by the recruiter who configured the ATS for the job description (which it won’t be), it will most likely be inaccurate and just cause you stress.
It’s also best to use a standard resume format so recruiters can quickly review it and find the information they seek. This means:
- Name and contact info at the top.
- Brief summary of what makes you an awesome fit for the job.
- Keywords section.
- Experience section.
Boom! Done. Follow this pattern for best results.
Next, make yourself stand out.
Most people submit their resume through a job board and then sit on their hands and wait for something to happen. You can take a proactive approach by following up with the most likely recruiter or hiring manager.
Find someone to talk to.
Search for the department manager or company talent acquisition specialist on LinkedIn. Once you find the likely person, you can message them on LinkedIn and/or send them an email. How do you get their contact info? Check out this cool little plugin.
Say something meaningful.
Your message should say something like:
- I just submitted my resume for your (role title) role online.
- (Company name) stands out to me because (some specific reason you like the company).
- I believe I could deliver value by (doing something).
- I’ve attached my resume and some key supplemental info you may find helpful.
- Please contact me at (email / phone) to discuss this further.
Make an impact.
At the bare minimum, you can attach the same resume you submitted. However, to make an even greater impact, take it a step further with an infographic or PowerPoint deck (saved as a .pdf) that explicitly and succinctly expresses your value.
An infographic could be a one-page .pdf with your photo, some graphs, and key statistics. A PowerPoint deck could include your portfolio, some case studies, or information on other key initiatives you’ve driven that would be of value to the new company. Remember, RELEVANCE IS KEY! Let that be your guide.
Here’s an infographic example:
Few people take it to this next level. You can use these supplemental documents to follow up after submitting your resume online or following an interview. Either way, sharing them will show initiative and make you memorable!
Can I help you with these items, you ask? Sure can! You know me, your partner in crime. 😉 I’m happy to help you with anything job-related. Just shoot me a message.
*Any recruiter will take me to task for saying, “Pass the ATS” because that’s not really how it works, and it’s one great misconception. However, that discussion is beyond the scope of this post.