How Your Resume Won’t Land You That Next job

How Your Resume Won’t Land You That Next job

How Your Resume Won’t Land You That Next job
How Your Resume Won’t Land You That Next job

I’m back in the market looking for my next opportunity, and so like everyone else, I started applying to a few on job boards. After one submittal I saw an offer to have a resume assessment. I clicked “yes”, and a message said I would hear back in a couple of days. It arrived yesterday and the results were quite startling.

Aside from the layout/presentation comments, the company ran my resume through an ATS (“Applicant Tracking Software”) tool. Now I have been in IT for 25 years, initially as an engineer, and for the last 15 years as an IT consultant. However, the ATS has summarized me thus:

“STUART HAMILTON's experience appears to be concentrated in Sales / General, with exposure to Information Technology / ERP and CRM. STUART HAMILTON has 20 years of work experience, with 20 years of management experience, including a mid-level position.”

Additionally, the ATS system categorizes my experience as:

  • 41% Sales 
  • 13% Information Technology 
  • 46% Other Professional Industries

Sales! Where did it get that from? Possibly because I consulted on projects like picking a CRM system, rolled out a system to 6000 customer support reps, and converted 25M customers on a billing system, etc. I searched and the word “customer” appears 9 times. 

And I can't say I was happy with the ATS categorizing me with only a 13% leaning to IT when it should have been much higher. So, as far as the ATS system goes, I guess I’m in Sales. Of course, if I ever tried to get a job in Sales, I would have no hope.

I did some research on the ATS systems (Taleo etc), and (numbers vary) but it will weed out perhaps 75% of applications when keywords don’t tightly match the job requirement. Even if you make it through, the ATS dashboard presents you in a hierarchy. 

Each company will only invite a few to interview, and they will be the top 3-4 from the applicant dashboard. Even if you made it through the ATS, your lower ranking will mean you won’t get a call. It is like falling on the lower pages of a Google search – nobody goes that deep.

There are websites that try to help you work with an ATS system to get picked, but even after trying to make your resume fit, it doesn’t seem to help. As an experiment, a web programmer built a bot to automatedly apply for 536 jobs, all with customized emails, a resume and a personalized cover letter. Of all the 40 replies he received, not one had an ATS system.

Maybe he didn’t stuff his resume with enough keywords. You can try that, but it means customizing every application to get the keywords matching. There are tools (e.g. jobscan) that will allow you to match your resume against the job requirement, then give you the ATS match percentage – Anything under 60% is a poor match, and ideally it should be higher. It will also tell you what keywords to add. 

I tried this and revamped my resume for a Director position I was particularly interested (and suited) for. I increased my match percentage from 45% to 70%, and after all that work, didn’t hear anything back. Maybe I’m still languishing in page 3 of the ATS system.

And don’t waste time on the cover letter – since the ATS robots are just scanning resumes, it is unlikely to ever be read. So what’s a boy to do? I can reach out to companies that want a smart, dynamic, proven project lead and hope to the best – and this is it. So if you need my skills, get in touch, even if you are a robot

The Author : Stuart Hamilton

About :
To structure the delivery of complex, large-scale transformational projects while managing and coaching multidisciplinary and matrixed teams. Day 1 assistance to develop strategy, roadmap, and execution plan, then execute and manage the implementation.

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