ATS or Hiring Manager–Who should I write my resume for?

Executive ResumesResume Writing

Does the thought of writing your resume leave you confused?

Not sure who will be reading this? An AI (ATS) or a human?

It can feel stressful to know what to write, who to write for (recruiters? hiring managers?), what keywords, etc., especially when you aren’t sure exactly what an applicant tracking system does.

I’ll explain it in a nutshell.

ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) are software programs used by employers to filter and sort through resumes to find the most qualified candidates for a specific job.

ATS typically look for the following elements in a resume:

Keywords: ATS scan resumes for specific keywords and phrases that match the job description. These can include job titles, technical skills, certifications, and other relevant terms that demonstrate your qualifications and experience. What words do you notice over and over in the job description?

Formatting: ATS prefer resumes that are well-organized and easy to read. To ensure your resume is ATS-friendly, use a simple and consistent formatting style, including headings, bullet points, and white space. Columns don’t work here as ATS reads left to right (like a book)—it doesn’t stop at the column.

Relevant Work Experience: ATS look for candidates with experience that closely matches the requirements of the job. Make sure your resume highlights your most relevant work experience, including job titles, dates of employment, and key achievements.

Education and Training: ATS also look for candidates with the required education and training for the job. Make sure to include your degree(s), certifications, and any relevant coursework or training programs you’ve completed.

Applicant Information: ATS also scans for basic applicant information such as name, contact information, and location. Make sure to include this information in a clear and consistent format at the top of your resume.

Knowing which keywords to add is perplexing to some of the candidates I talk to.

One way to know if your resume has enough keywords for ATS is to carefully review the job description and compare it to your resume. Look for the specific skills, qualifications, and experience that the employer is seeking and make sure to include relevant keywords and phrases throughout your resume.

Here are some tips to ensure your resume has enough keywords for ATS:

Use exact phrases: Use exact phrases from the job description wherever possible. If the job description calls for “project management experience,” include that exact phrase in your resume instead of a similar phrase such as “managed projects.”

Use variations of keywords: Use variations of keywords and phrases throughout your resume to demonstrate your familiarity with the industry and the specific job requirements. For example, if the job description calls for “customer service skills,” also include related terms such as “client service” or “customer support.”

Include relevant industry jargon: If there are specific technical terms or jargon commonly used in the industry, make sure to include them in your resume. This helps to demonstrate your familiarity with the industry and the specific job requirements.

Don’t stuff your resume with irrelevant keywords: While it’s important to include relevant keywords and phrases, don’t stuff your resume with irrelevant keywords. This can make your resume look unnatural and may actually hurt your chances of passing through an ATS.

Test your resume: Some ATS offer a “resume optimization” feature that can analyze your resume and provide feedback on whether it contains enough keywords for the job. Alternatively, you can test your resume by submitting it to a free online resume scanner that checks for ATS compatibility.

Something to keep in mind is that even though it’s important to write a resume that works with ATS, it’s also important to write for people.

It’s equally important to ensure that your resume is readable and appealing to human recruiters as well as ATS. This means using clear, concise language, storytelling, and formatting that makes your qualifications and experience easy to understand. Your resume should also highlight your unique skills and accomplishments in a way that captures the recruiter’s attention and stands out from other candidates. It should tell your story.

To strike a balance between ATS and human readability, consider tailoring your resume for each specific job application. Start by reviewing the job description and identifying the key skills and qualifications that the employer is seeking. Then, incorporate those relevant keywords and phrases throughout your resume while also crafting a compelling narrative that showcases your experience and achievements.

Similar to ATS, hiring managers typically look for the following key elements in a resume:

Relevant Experience: Hiring managers want to see that you have relevant work experience that demonstrates your ability to perform the job duties required for the position. Highlight your most relevant work experience and quantify your accomplishments with specific achievements and results.

Skills and Qualifications: Highlight your skills and qualifications that are directly relevant to the job. Be specific and provide examples of how you have used these skills in previous roles.

Education and Certifications: Include your educational background and any certifications that are relevant to the position. This helps to demonstrate your qualifications and expertise in a particular area.

Achievements and Accomplishments: Use specific examples to demonstrate your achievements and accomplishments in previous roles. Quantify your results wherever possible to demonstrate the impact you have made in previous positions. Numbers, numbers, numbers. Add metrics when possible.

Relevant Keywords: While not as critical as with ATS, it’s still important to use relevant keywords and phrases from the job description. This helps to demonstrate your familiarity with the industry and the specific requirements of the position.

Clarity and Readability: Hiring managers want to be able to quickly and easily scan your resume for the information they need. Use a clear and consistent formatting style, including headings and bullet points, to make your resume easy to read and understand. Keep the important info on page one—the top half of the page.

In summary, hiring managers look for a combination of relevant experience, skills and qualifications, education and certifications, achievements and accomplishments, relevant keywords, and clarity and readability in a resume. ATS seeks these things as well.

The job description offers a treasure trove of keywords and helps make the writing process so much easier. If you’ve done those same skills list them. Both the hiring manager and ATS will be seeking them out.

 

Don’t Give Up The Job Search Just Because The Holidays Are Near

Job Search

I’ve been talking with job seekers lately who ask whether they should job search right now or wait until after the New Year.

The holidays are upon us and many worry it isn’t a good time.🎅

But–there are many benefits to continuing on with your job search.

🎄 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐛𝐮𝐝𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐬. Companies have new budgets in place to entice and hire #candidates. They are still #hiring and actively looking.

🎄 𝐌𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐥 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧. Your competition is less since many people decide to hold off until the new year. Plus, you will impress companies with your dedication and commitment.

🎄 𝐌𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞. Things are winding down at your company due to the holidays and end of the year, so you have more time to focus on #job search

🎄 𝐏𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐦𝐨𝐨𝐝𝐬. People are generally in better moods around the holidays. More time off, seeing family and friends (via remotely this year, unfortunately), shopping, and reflection. It’s a perfect time to reach out and start a #conversation.

I asked career professionals on LinkedIn what their thoughts were on the subject. Read what they have to say:

Hannah Morgan, Job Search Strategist, Career Sherpa:  November and December are great months for conversations and you are so right, many companies are either trying to fill roles that are still vacant now or line up candidates to hire Jan. 1. Don’t put on the brakes!

Ed Han, Talent Acquisition Geek, Recruiter:  As a corporate recruiter: let me reassure your readers & followers that if the job posting is up, I AM READING APPLICATIONS.
Scheduling interviews may take longer, but if it’s open, that hiring manager has funds earmarked towards that hire and is anxious to use them, because they’ll get asked if they really need the position or not by their boss, or their boss’s boss.

Nicole Reyes, Sn. Technical Recruiter: I’ve noticed that many hiring managers want new hires to start in January of the new year, which means they’re willing to schedule interviews with candidates this time of year. It’s worth your time to search for a position during this period, even if the search is a bit slower because people will be out of the office more with the holidays.

Greg Roche, Career Transition Coach: Take your holiday card list and see who you can connect with in person. Send them a card too, but use this list as a way to get back in touch with people who are important to you, but likely haven’t talked to in a while. This helps you practice connecting and you never know where it might lead Erin.

Andrea Yacub Macek, Top Job Expert to Follow, Career Coach:  The best time to network, market, and job search is when you are ready to do so in your season of life. If you need to take a break, do so, and if you want to continue networking or job search, do so; there are always benefits. These are some significant reasons you asked Erin Kennedy to continue instead of stop.

Meg Applegate, Resume Writer, Hinge Resume: The holidays are a great time to check in with your network. Start conversations now, even if after the new year is your goal. You never know what can come of it,

Sarah Johnston, Executive Resume Writer, LinkedIn Branding: Great reminder, Erin Kennedy. Some managers have “use it or lose it” budgets and have positions that need to be filled before the end of the year.

Adrienne Tom, Executive Resume Writer: If a company really needs an employee, it doesn’t matter what time of year it is — they will be looking. Which means, you should be too.

Bottom line: Don’t give up. Keep looking. This is a GREAT time of year to look for a job. 🎄

 

 

 

Top Experts To Know on LinkedIn in 2020

Social Marketing/Online Branding

2019 was my year to get to know LinkedIn.

I mean REALLY get to know it (more on that journey later).

What I’ve discovered—and what gets me—are the stories and storytellers.

I am amazed at the consistent content and relevant messaging these people put out.

Posts rich in real-life experiences, expertise, and valuable information about everything from job search to recruitment to resume writing and LinkedIn in today’s workforce.

There are some amazing thought leaders that consistently offer great content, tips, hacks, examples, on these topics. I’ll list my favorites—most are career-related, others are just plain interesting. If you have time, check out their profiles and see what they have to say:

Resume Writers/Career Coaches
@adriennetom
@annetterichmond
@ashleyjwatkins
@jessicaholbrook
@laurasmithproulx
@masterresumewriter
@maureenmccann
@megguiseppi
@virginiafrancoresumewriter
@wespierce
@thewritingguru

LinkedIn
@andyfoote
@brendameller
@christinehueber
@edhan
@jeffyoungralemoi
@joeapfelbaum
@kevindturner
@selsliger

Career & Job Search
@alokotkova
@austinbelcak
@bironclark
@bobmcintosh
@hannahmorgan
@jtodonnell
@jonshields
@kerritwigg
@kylecromerelliot
@madelinemann
@mariezimenoff
@markanthonydyson
@sarahdjohnston
@susanjoyce

Recruitment & Talent
@chrislonas
@emilylawson
@laurenmcdonaldgogogo
@lauraakiley
@rebeccaoppenheim
@tejalwagadia
@tonyrestell

Speakers, Coaches, Trainers
@tsufit
@jayandrewssolution4u/
@valeriejgordon
@joeapfelbaum

I’m sure I am missing LOTS of people and I will remember them as soon as I hit “publish”, but I am so grateful to these ROCKSTARS who keep delivering great content to jobseekers EVERY. DAY.

Happy New Year! 2020 here we come!

When I joined Twitter in 2008 I had no clue who to follow or even what to do. After learning a bit more about it, I gathered my little list of resume experts that quickly expanded to experts throughout the careers industry. Through the years I’ve added more people to that list. With vast and various experience, these folks offer daily and weekly expert advice.  Whether you are new to Twitter or have been using it for a while, count these experts among your favorite go-to’s for career advice. I’m sure I am missing some (and will remember as soon as I hit “publish”) but for now, here are my fave peeps!

RESUME WRITERS
@amyladler Specializes in career transition and strength finding. Spot-on job search tweets.
@debrawheatman Resume writer and career coach offering tips and insight into job search and resume writing.
@avidcareerist With a background in retained search and current role as executive resume writer, Donna offers sage advice on resumes and job search.
@greatresume  Jessica Hernandez packs nuggets of heart into her career tips, tweet, and posts.
@hireimaging Barb Pool is a career strategist, coach, and resume writer with over 30 years of experience.
@karensilins Career coach, resume writer, presenter, personal branding specialist, and HR consultant fills her Twitter feed with valuable career information.
@laurieberenson Straight-forward resume writing and job search advice for professionals.
@lisarangel A triple threat! With experience as a former recruiter, current resume writer, and humorous wit, Lisa’s tweets offer insight into the recruiting and resume writing worlds.
@pushcareers Brenda Cunningham offers outplacement experience, job search strategies, resume writing, and career management tips.
@resumeservice Rosa Vargas offers authentic resume branding advice and career coaching.
@susanwhitcomb Resume writing pioneer, trainer, and job coach. She is the founder and President of The Academies and combines her vast experience with practical career tips.
@valueintowords Jacqui Poindexter turns your career history into a value-infused story. Follow her for resume and career tips.

CAREER COACHES
@CareerTL  CEO of Career Thought Leader Consortium, Marie Zimenoff heaps on loads of expert career advice from resume writing to social media advice.
@careerhero President of Career Directors International, Laura DeCarlo’s offers consistently informative career tweets.
@kccareercoach  As a career coach and marketing strategist for executives, Meg Montford shares resources, tips and advice.
@krisplantrich 9X certified Career Coach specializing in job search, interview, career transition, salary, and LinkedIn coaching.
@phyllismufson Career Coach and catalyst for personal and career transformation. Helps with job search, career change, and small business.
@susanguarneri Career assessment expert, certified branding strategist and management coach, and resume writer.
@coachwolfgang Career coaches and counselors specializing in multiple coaching disciplines that help individuals take ownership of their careers.

CAREER ADVICE & JOB SEARCH
@careerbliss Online company reviews, salaries, job listings, hiring trends and interview tips. Your one-stop shop.
@careersingov  Looking for a career in the government? Check out the nation’s largest State and Local Government Job Board and Career Center.
@classycareer List as Forbes Top 35 Most Influential Career Site and E-Learning Platform, launching dream careers, and businesses. Passionate about helping women succeed in their careers.
@flexjobs Looking for tips on finding a flexible hours, remote work, freelance, or just more work life balance? Look no further. Flexjobs posts jobs and informative articles every day.
@healthcareitcentral Weekly job alerts, an employer directory, and articles for clients in healthcareIT.
@jacobshare Job search expert, blogger, and community builder. His career tweets are interesting and plenty.
@jobhuntorg A careers pioneer whose website and posts offer guidance and tips on everything career-related.
@markadyson Career consultant, blogger, and expert podcaster, Mark keeps his tweets light and jam-packed with everything career.
@social_hire Helps candidates find their next great job. Daily tips and job search advice.
@themuse Offers career advice and matches candidates with companies and jobs looking for them.
@williamarruda Personal branding expert and motivational speaker offers daily job search advice.
@workcoachcafe Tips to help people become more successful in their jobs and job search. Forbes Top 100 Career Site.
@youtern  Enables young talent to become highly employable by connecting them to high-impact internships, mentors, and thru contemporary career advice that works!

RECRUITERS & HR
@absolutely_abby  Abby Kohut offers job search and recruiting advice to professionals. Selected as one of ‘Forbes Top 100 Career Websites’ and Fast Company’s ‘The Monster 11 for 2011: Career Experts Who Can Help Your Job Search’.
@chrisrussell Online recruiting, job board secrets, and HR consultant. Find out what recruiters are looking for.
@hrbartender Sharlyn Lauby delivers corporate HR tweets daily. Spot-on advice for interested job seekers.
@nickcorcodilos The author of Fearless Job Hunting and Ask The Headhunter, Nick’s tweets answer the burning job search and recruiting questions job seekers are asking.
@recruitmentgv Recruitment and Talent Acquisition news provided by the leading magazine for Recruitment Consultants.
@talentculture HR, Recruiting, Leadership and more. Be sure to save this social community as one of your favorite tweeters.

The Top Reason Professional Resume Distribution Works

NetworkingProducts & Services

the top reason professional resume distribution works
Is anybody in your family interested in your family history? My mom is our family historian. She has our family tree going back to the 1600’s! It’s pretty amazing what she’s found out and who she has met along the way. One thing most genealogists will tell you is that researching a family tree is a lot like networking. Many families will have one person in the generation who is willing to keep all the photos and letters and information, and finding that person is like finding a treasure trove. Instead of laboriously working on finding one branch, suddenly you discover that they’ve got the connections to a whole bunch of branches and they know the people who are the keepers of the photos and letters and information for all of them.
If you are interested in finding the connections in your ancestry, you need to find the people who are already doing the research. They have already made connections you have no access to until you contact them. For example, if you never meet Great Aunt Irma, then you won’t get to see all the letters your grandma sent to her dad with the pictures of your dad as a baby.

Networking

Companies use recruiters to fill executive positions and many other types of openings. A professional resume distribution service has carefully maintained connections with many professional recruiters so that a resume goes to the right recruiters for that job seeker. The connections have already been made: These are professionals who rely on networking for their career and carefully maintain the connections between them. Instead of Great Aunt Irma keeping your dad’s baby pictures, they’ve got first knowledge of job openings, and you won’t find out about it unless you connect to the right one.
This networking is the reason professional resume distribution works so much better than a blind email blast to every company in the phone book or a hopeful query out of nowhere. If your resume is presented by a reputable distribution service, that reputation enhances your resume by association. Recruiters get untold numbers of resumes all the time. It makes sense to filter them for efficiency. The fact you recognized quality and respected professional standards weights your submission with authority.
 

The Next Step After Writing Your Resume

Resume Writing

the next step after writing your resume
You have carefully crafted your resume, reading all the tips and compiling your information before editing and polishing your presentation to be the best snapshot of the assets you bring to the hiring interview. How do you get that resume distributed so it gets read? It isn’t enough to go through the paper and send envelopes out to any address you find, hoping you get a response. A lot of companies will now ask you to apply online even though they advertise in that newspaper.
It’s a good idea to learn how to work with online applications and attach your resume electronically. This is pretty much standard, and not knowing how to do it limits you. It’s also a good job skill so you don’t have an excuse for ignoring that whole technology thing.
The next step after writing a resume – distribution – trips a lot of job-seekers up. They don’t really know how to distribute their resume and aren’t honestly aware of all the potential openings available to them. When you employ a hit-or-miss method to looking for a job, you are going to miss a lot of the job openings in your field. A “resume blast” indiscriminately blanketing the job market often is ignored or seen as spam.
If you are serious about distributing your resume effectively, consider working with a recruiter. This is a professional whose career is connecting companies and potential employees. They know exactly how to get your resume into the hands of someone who will want to call you in for an interview. Recruiters often specialize in certain industries or areas. You can do the research yourself, hoping you find the right match, or you can do this:
Professional Resume Services can connect you with the recruiters who fit your search. Instead of that resume blast or scattered attempts, the database of almost 16,000 recruiters is searched for the best options for you. This database is updated quarterly and has major recruiting firms, contingency and retained recruiters, and more. Once the recruiter is identified, a targeted letter in PDF and MSWord format is sent to each one. Then you get an Excel file with the contact information for every recruiter your resume was sent to.
That’s a lot more effective than circling want ads and hoping you find a job.
 

Your Resume Lives On

Resumes

internet handshake
It is very easy to think that, when you have sent out hundreds of resumes, those resumes disappear into thin air. However, if you post your resume online or email it in response to a job ad, your resume usually gets stored in a database. This database could be a job aggregator like Career Builder, or it could be an applicant tracking system for a company or staffing agency. Just because you do not get a response to your job application, it does not mean that nothing is done with your resume.
What is does mean is that you want to be careful who gets access to your resume and the information on it. Many people eagerly post their resumes on a job aggregator only to be contacted for jobs they do not want, such as franchise opportunities or life insurances sales or other jobs that require you to put thousands of dollars down to get started. One thing that smart job seekers do is to create an email separate from your personal ones for just this purpose, that way your personal email won’t be bombarded with annoying spam mail. If the company is interested in you, they will email you. However, be sure that you regularly check both your email inbox and spam for messages from potential employers.
Putting your resume on LinkedIn is also another way for your resume to ‘live on’. As LinkedIn can be used as an online version of your resume, it will still be working for you even when you aren’t in an active job search (as long as you keep up with your profile and don’t ignore it).
It’s important to remember that once your resume is ‘out there’ in cyberspace either on a job board or LI, it will stay there until you remove it. Be strategic about where you put your resume and you will have better results.
 

Why It Is Important To Keep Executive Recruiters Happy

Job Search



 
Executive recruiters are a very useful resource for employers in the hiring process. They can have a profound effect on whether or not you get hired. This means you need to keep them happy in order to ensure you get the job. Here are some very important things to keep in mind that will help you keep recruiters happy.

  • Don’t be dismissive. Even if you’re happy in your current role, or just extremely busy, take a moment to speak to search consultants or to call them back. While you may not be interested in the position they’re seeking to fill, you may know someone who might be a good match. Search professionals appreciate getting references and practicing the law of reciprocity.
  • Don’t surprise them. More importantly, don’t surprise their clients. If you have a blemish on your record, let them hear your version first, before they learn it secondhand.
  • Don’t embellish. Even at the highest levels of executive search, some candidates can’t resist the urge to embellish their resumes. Sometimes they don’t get caught. In nine cases out of 10, however, they do. Avoid the pitfall and be honest.
  • Don’t fail your own history test. It’s surprising how many candidates can’t recite their own professional histories in chronological order. Know exactly what you did and where and when you did it before meeting with a search consultant. And it’s a good tuneup for meeting with a prospective new employer.
  • Don’t neglect your homework. Some candidates will spend the first 10 minutes of an interview asking basic questions about the position and the company at issue, showing that they never bothered to read the search specification. Candidates who do independent research create a favorable impression and show their clear interest in the new opportunity.
  • Don’t forget your manners. When meeting with an executive-search consultant, remember that every word, gesture or inflection will be duly noted.

Keep these in mind and you will be able to keep your recruiter happy and get the job.