How to Avoid the Online Application Black Hole
Published by ATD - The Association of Talent Development at: click here
Do you feel your online resume submission is being routed into a black hole? There is a good possibility that it is. In fact, research suggests that nearly 75 percent of all resumes are never even seen by human eyes.
The reason behind so many “lost” resumes is most likely a filtering system, known as theapplicant tracking system (ATS). Advances in technology have created automated resume screeners that enable the electronic handling of resumes for recruiters. However, what goes in doesn’t necessarily come out.
How the ATS works
Your resume runs through a parser, which assigns meaning to the content. Resumes are not only scanned for key words, but they also are scanned for key phrases. In other words, the technology has the ability to look for words in front of and following the key words. This is known as contextualization.
The content is then mathematically scored for relevance after it is analyzed for terms that are both related and unrelated, as well as the depth of experience that a potential candidate has and how this experience falls into the candidate’s career path. Your score is then validated and moved on to human eyes—or to the proverbial black hole.
How to avoid the black hole
So, what do you need to do to attempt to beat this dreaded applicant tracking system? Optimize your resume! Here are some important tips that you need to consider as you review—and optimize—your resume.
Tip #1: Make sure you customize your resume for each position with applicable skills and experience. Quality of resume versus quantity of submissions is the preferred path. Weave in the language from the job description into your current resume.
Tip #2: Remove all images and graphics from your resume, as they are not readable. Do not include any logos or pictures.
Tip #3: Fonts matter! Do not use a font size less than 11 point and do not use any script fonts. Arial appears to be the best font to use, though others may also be acceptable (Courier, Impact, Lucinda, Tahoma, Trebuchet, Times New Roman, and Verdana).
Tip #4: Don’t hide key words in white text and try to cheat the system. In other words, don’t type the verbiage from the job description and then change the font to white hoping it will get through the ATS. The parsers will most likely catch this, and it will come out the other end in something that is readable. The end result will be a human making their own judgment.
Tip #5: Consider removing irrelevant positions from your resume. Only include past positions that are relevant to the job at hand, rather than submitting your standard resume.
Tip #6: Beware of special characters. Standard bullet points are fine, but do not use arrows, tables or lines that cross the entire page.
Tip #7: Avoid shading, fancy borders, and section breaks.
Tip #8: Check for spelling errors—the ATS may miss key words if they are misspelled.
Tip #9: Make sure your contact information is at the top of the document, but NOT in the header or footer, especially if you are submitting online. Include your name,