It is well known that many job seekers lie on their resumes, but recent studies have shown that potential IT candidates are some of the worst offenders. The reason for this is many people searching for IT employment often feel they have to beat the application tracking systems put in place by companies just to have as small chance at the job. So, they embellish the truth and often stuff their resumes with keywords as they attempt to beat the system.
What Are Application Tracking Systems?
Application tracking systems are put in place by companies in order to help them more efficiently screen applicants for potential positions. In addition, these systems help human resource departments ensure that the company remains compliant with all local hiring laws so they don’t face a lawsuit over hiring down the road. They are not designed to make it difficult for qualified candidates to get noticed. On the contrary, qualified candidates should never have to worry about being noticed by these systems.
However, there are a few ways that you can tailor your resume to perform well inside application tracking systems. Crafting your resume to look good both to a potential employer as well as the tracking system they use can be one of the keys to get your foot in the door and even land an interview.
1. Don’t embellish the truth.
This can be tempting as you attempt to tailor your resume for the tracking system. Even if your embellishments do get you through the systems the truth will come out either in the interview process or after you have taken the position, which can cause major headaches for both you and your potential employer.
2. Understand how application tracking systems work.
Application tracking systems are designed to narrow the search parameters based on job requirements. For example, if a company requires three years or more experience with Java, they will enter that into the system and it will screen out all those candidates who don’t meet the requirements. This allows the company to more quickly match potential candidates to the positions they need filled.
3. Don’t overuse keywords.
There is a belief that application tracking systems search for certain keywords in resumes and resumes containing enough keywords will make it to the next level. While it is true that keyword searches are part of the process, it is only one part of the process. Candidates tend to stuff their keywords on resumes in order to increase their chances. This process often backfires and is looked down upon by recruiters. Instead, focus your attention on using right keywords and only use them exactly where they are needed. This makes the resume not only read better but will also get the appropriate attention from tracking systems.
4. Format your resume properly.
Application tracking systems often use parsing technology to divide the resumes into sections of education, experience, etc. It’s important when crafting your resume to utilize the proper heading and subheading tags available in your document editors for each section of your resume. This allows it to be much more easily searched by the system and will increase your chances of making it to the next round.
5. Be creative.
Many applicants believe having a resume that looks great and is unique simply won’t get you noticed by the automated application tracking systems. However, as long as you format the different aspects of your resume as we discussed above, you are free to be as creative as possible. Your resume will still get noticed by the tracking systems and it will look great sitting on the desk of your potential interviewer.
While it may be tempting to tailor your resume specifically for the automated applicant tracking systems, you must remember that at some point your resume will be read by human eyes. While you definitely need to be mindful of the above so you can work with the applicant tracking systems, it is important that you make your resume readable later so that you can finally land that interview and that dream job you have always wanted.