Applicant tracking systems save time for busy HR departments that may be inundated with thousands of resumes every year. These screening tools quickly search through the resumes and pull out only the best ones for an actual hiring professional to read and follow up with personally. While these systems can be highly beneficial for busy organizations, they put an extra step between interested applicants and jobs that need filling. If you have submitted your resume to multiple companies and these firms are not calling you back, it could be that “the robot” is what is standing between you and the job of your dreams. Check out these tips for getting your resume past these screening programs and into the hands of the human decision makers.
- Apply directly – Using an application service may save a bit of time, but it could get your application lumped in with dozens of others. Applying directly for the job is usually worth the effort.
- Leave out the graphics – Sometimes the computerized systems do not know how to handle graphics. This could lead to disaster for your resume.
- Don’t be over-the-top – In your eagerness to look professional, you could shoot yourself in the foot—so to speak. Using bigger or complex words could keep your resume from setting off the flags it should in the automated applicant system. Think about simple, industry-specific wording that could be in the keyword banks. These are the terms you should use.
- Complete the process – Does the application process require you to take a test, survey or computerized interview? Failing to do this could keep your resume from ever going to its intended destination.
- Send a personal e-mail – In addition to sending your resume and cover letter to the correct location, do some digging and see if you can find an e-mail address to reach human resources directly. Let them know of your interest in the position and mention that you did apply directly. Sometimes a simple, personal touch can make all the difference.
- Follow up – Sometimes a simple phone call a week or two later can make a big impact. Follow up and suddenly your resume could be seen.
While these tips may help you get past the screeners, remember that every organization and screening program is a little different. In your eagerness to get your resume “in” don’t sacrifice your integrity. No matter what the job, your honor is the most important thing you have to offer as a potential candidate!