|Marketing Yourself Using Your Resume: Part 1
By: Jessica N. Abraham-Hogan
As a professional in an ever-evolving world of technology, it is absolutely important to keep abreast of changes that occur within the standard operations of society and hiring processes. Not many realize that with the evolution of information systems, most hiring processes are initiated, if not fully executed, online. Therefore, hiring managers and executive decision makers are eliminating the number of resumes that they are scouring each week in order to streamline processes and maximize productivity in the job space while keeping staffing down to a minimum. Let’s take a deeper look into this science and discover how to get past all systems filters to at least be considered for the position that many are applying for.
Did you know that as this World of Technology evolves, so does the way the business world approaches talent acquisitions and recruiting? Professionals aren’t just sitting back behind a desk glancing over resumes on a day-to-day basis. Time is valuable, and successful corporations are always looking for ways to cut back on unnecessary spending.
As mentioned earlier, many recruiters are more than likely sitting in front of a computer and pounding away at their keyboards, seeking out potential candidates that meet the specific needs of an employer. Whether it is a proprietary system hosted on internal servers or through a major job search platform, hiring personnel are able to search out the perfect candidate based on keyword searches. Often, more time is spent discovering which keywords directly meet those needs of an employer than sifting through a plethora of candidates that do not meet them.
As many job search sites and resume-writing services will point out, there is an algorithm that allows recruiters to search for who they want and to avoid those that they do not. This system is dubbed “ATS,” a shortened version of “Applicant Tracking System,” and it is what will make or break a candidate's forge to the top of the figurative totem pole.
You see, per position a company seeks to fill, an average of 250 to 300 candidates are competing to be seen and invited for interview. Unfortunately for most, they will never be seen. The “select few” will be invited to join the hiring process and asked to report for interview. Believe it or not, many of the top professionals applying per position will actually be overlooked. Hence, these awesome candidates might never have their chance at a dream position and will remain in their current until they finally “hack” the system.
So, how do you hack this system? How do you rise to the top and become recognized as “cream of the crop?” This is simple. Treat your career path as a brand while showcasing brandYOU through the use of Internet Marketing techniques to enhance your presence in tracking systems. While ATS works slightly differently than Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the core concepts are totally the same!
Similar to SEO, ATS seeks out applicants based on specific keywords. The more keywords match word for word, the better! The applicant will score a higher position within this algorithm. Unlike SEO, these keywords must be presented exactly as described by qualifying terms, as opposed to being strategized for conversational, organic placement and tone. Industry-specific terminology is highly encouraged. Resumes are expected to be matter of fact while engaging readers in a professional and narrative description of an applicant’s work history. This means that a phrase such as “preparation of slideshows” would hold little weight, if any, compared with “slideshow preparation.” It gets even more complex.
Because ATS seeks applicant achievement over duty, it would be wise to include the latter preceded by a strong action verb and a powerful adjective. Whereas one may include, “Engaged in slideshow preparation” on their resume, another may include “Developed and executed highly professional slideshow preparations.” Not only does the second choice include powerful descriptors, but it also shows process, ability, and to what quality. It also shows that it happened on more than one occasion, and therefore it was not a fluke!
While both verbiages may find themselves ranking higher within ATS than those without optimization, the achievement-based resume will soar much higher. Once these resumes reach the hands of the talent recruiters, which do you think will receive further consideration?
Keeping your language brief within a resume is the objective, but the manner in which this is done is also important. In marketing yourself, you have to sell your achievements by showing how even your performance of duties has made a difference. Your resume must flow smoothly in keeping a reader engaged. As a matter of fact, your resume must flow smoothly, because your resume will merely be skimmed the first few times that it is read. In keeping content mapped out and consistent, the layout must reflect what the body is trying to convey to your future employer.
Structure is equally important to the Applicant Tracking System. Professional profiles may or may not be read with the ATS — this depends on the complexity of the engine being used — but they must be present when distributing your resume to employers that do get to see your resume. Within each resume, it is highly recommended that one include a “Competencies Section” with word choices that must be completely spelled out at least once prior to abbreviation throughout the resume. This section also acts as a meta-tagged “keywords” section within SEO to enhance your resume’s overall potential. While many include these keywords in a section called “Areas of Expertise,” one should merely feel comfortable in their ability to complete duties found within.
Expanding upon the idea that layouts and consistencies are important for ATS and in mapping out your career, layouts keep resumes organized, experiences highlighted, and abilities grouped. It also helps ATS differentiate the content you are submitting, especially in the case of extracting information to a separate database. In a more traditional format, it leaves your resume more visually appealing, balancing out white and negative spacing, and allows your resume to be properly scanned over in the second round of the hiring process, therefore passing the “30-second test.”
Check back tomorrow for Marketing Yourself Using Your Resume: Part 2.
Jessica N. Abraham-Hogan is the owner of Shorty Produkshins and an Internet Marketing professional, specializing in Social Branding and Public Relations. She has been a part of multiple International projects in both Entertainment Business and Professional Services industries. She often works with major marketing firms and job search sites under NDA in lending valuable insight to clientele, whether it includes hands-on project development or the crafting of a roadmap for a brand's awareness strategy. Find her online here. @sp_brand_social