More Strategies for Prepping Your Resume for Applicant Tracking Systems


CLT2011WhitePaper.jpg We’ve mentioned Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) a couple of times this week. ATSs are the software employers use to screen resumes using keywords, Here’s more to aid your understanding and help you prep your resume:
Strategies and tools for conquering Applicant Tracking Systems are appearing and evolving. As job boards like offer their services and capabilities to even the smallest companies, businesses of every size are now using ATS to scan resumes and manage candidates. At the same time, ATS have become more sophisticated and more choosey — to the point that they now search for rare (rather than common) keywords and keyword phrases to help sort a huge number of submitted resumes. In response, new technologies, tools, and strategies have emerged to help resumes rise to the top. These include:
  • Web­‐based software that enables writers to assess resumes for keyword matches when compared against specific job listings. An emerging player in this arena is Preptel, whose Resumeter service can bring resumes from a “weak” match to 50 percent, 80 percent, or higher. According to Preptel, any resume that scores above 50 percent will have an advantage because the typical resume matches at only 20 percent to 30 percent.
  • Keyword listings positioned at the bottom of every resume — as a catch-all to include terms that could not be worked into the body of the resume. While some career professionals espouse this strategy, others point out that keyword lists are imperfect because search engines are iterative and will catch words that are included out of context, which could force a rejection.
  • A free word cloud generator like Wordle — a simple tool to use to uncover keyword patterns in both job listings and resumes.
This post is part of our series of excerpts from the white paper, Findings of 2011 Global Career Brainstorming Day: Trends for the Now, the New & the Next in Careers. The brainstorming day was held October 14, 2011, by the Career Thought Leaders Consortium, publishers of the white paper, and included the input of more than 250 career professionals from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.