You thought your resume was good, maybe even great. Unfortunately, you’ve received little to no response. What is wrong?
Here are four tips to help you get your application to the hiring manager’s desk.
1. Remember the ATS
You may not know what an ATS is, but chances are your resume went through one. An ATS, or Applicant Tracking System, is a software tool companies use to collect and sort applications. Most likely, a computer scanned your resume before a person did. And, although Applicant Tracking Systems save hiring managers time by quickly identifying the top candidates, they can also mistakenly disqualify applications because of minor glitches.
Follow these guidelines so your resume doesn’t get stuck in a database.
- Remove logos, pictures and/or symbols (an ATS may not be able to read them);
- stick to normal fonts like Arial, Courier or Times New Roman;
- apply a standard resume format with the traditional section headings;
- proofread everything to avoid spelling and grammar mistakes; and
- send your resume as a Word document or in rich text format.
2. Pay Attention to Keywords
To find out if you are a good fit, many ATSs compare your resume to the job description and rank your application based on keywords, key phrases and/or skills. Therefore, you must customize each resume to the position for which you are applying. Start by highlighting words in the job posting and look for ways to add these exact words to your application. Try to insert keywords naturally into your skills or experience sections. And, include both abbreviations or acronyms as well as spelled out versions of words. However, don’t go overboard and stuff keywords into your document as this tactic will backfire.
3. Reconsider the Career Objective
The Career Objective or Goals section of a resume is a space filler at best and looks outdated at worst. Plus, the focus is on you, rather than on the company. Think about dumping this section and repurposing the space with something more valuable and memorable such as a Branding Statement (a short elevator pitch highlighting your top skills and attributes as they apply to the position) or a Qualifications Summary or Results Summary (short sentences or bullet points presenting your most relevant achievements and experiences).
4. Mine Your Network
You may not personally know anyone in the organization to which you are applying, but your industry is smaller than you think. Check LinkedIn or other social media accounts for mutual connections. Introduce yourself or ask for an introduction. Similarly, contact your alumni office to discover any connections through your alma mater. Hiring is risky for companies, especially when they know nothing about a candidate. Even an indirect link may make a world of difference in your job search.
Are you having trouble writing a resume that gets results?
The staffing specialists at FirstStaff of Arkansas are here to help. Our recruiters can review your application materials, learn about your goals and find the right position for you. Search our available jobs today!