Resume! Resume!! Resume!!! The answer is in your resume. Employers are out to hire the best and most qualified candidates from the pack. But if you can’t prove you’re that person- in a matter of seconds- through your resume, you won’t be called for interviews. It is that simple. Besides, employers don’t have the time to study hundreds of applications sent in weekly. They have robots for that; and they are called Applicants Tracking Systems.
So what is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?
To put it in simple terms, an Applicant Tracking System is a software that employers use to scan applications and resumes in order to select those that will get called for an interview. The system scans for keywords and relevant information as they appeared on the job posting or description. The ATS helps to ease the job of the recruiter as it saves time, energy and money.
These systems act like resume robots; the first gatekeepers to the employment circle. To get an interview, you must beat these Robots.
How Applicant Tracking Systems work
Here are two simple ways that an ATS works;
- Automatic Search: Here, the applicant tracking system is automated to do a comparison of your resume and the job description. Once a significant match is achieved, your resume scales through.
- Keywords Search: This is another common way that an ATS works. The system filters through applications and resumes, searching for titles and skills that match what is on the job description. For example, if the recruiter is looking for a Data Analyst from about 300 applicants, the ATS will probably be programmed to search in the job experience section for people who have ‘Data Analyst’ as a past job. This can reduce the number of applications from 300 to as little as 30.
Skills can also be included in this search. For example, “Microsoft Excel Skills”. Resumes that do not have these skills clearly spelt out will also not make the cut. Soft skills like “team player”, “hardworking” and “work under pressure” can also be included as matching keywords.
How to beat the Canadian Resume Robots
The first step to beating a Canadian Resume robot is knowing what keywords the robot will be looking for. The next step is to include those keywords in your resume. More often than not, the keywords will be clearly stated in the job description you find on the job board.
Other tips include;
- Each resume should be tailored to the specific job you’re applying for each time.
- Write your resume using the reverse chronological format, with the latest job experience appearing at the top. The hybrid format is also a good way to go. Do this especially when you have a good number of past jobs.
- Write keywords in full and in acronym form as well. For example, Public Relations Expert (PR Expert).
- Match your resume with the job description for keywords.
- Avoid using columns or tables, as most Canadian ATS can’t read them.
- Use Microsoft Word and save as a docx file, as much as possible.
- Avoid the use of headers or footers.
- Times New Roman and Cambria are often too difficult for these Canadian Applicant Tracking Systems to read. Use Calibri or Georgia if possible.
- Use the round bullets instead of arrows or asterix.
- Use simple, known headings like “Education” instead of “Level of Schooling”.
- Avoid headers and footers.
After all of these have been done, it is important to scan your resume on a top Canadian Applicant Tracking System. Most of them offer this service for free. Better still, you can find out what specific tracking system the organisation uses on their job page.
Once you get the URL, visit the site and scan your resume with the job description using the Canadian Applicant Tracking System. If you can get a 95% matching score, you’re very likely to get called for an interview.