With over 245 resumes for every interview granted, on average, according to the Georgia Department of Labor, major employers can’t feasibly read every resume. The solution – more and more employers use automated filtering systems that scan your resume when you upload it online or send it in an email. These applicant tracking systems, as they’re called, rank candidates based on the relevance of their experiences, and many large employers and job boards supposedly now use these scanning systems.
What this means for job seekers is that the way you see your resume when you submit it, is rarely the way it’s viewed. Instead, an employer may never see your resume until you hand it over in the interview room – that is, if you make it to the interview. What may actually be keeping you from getting the interview call, ironically enough, may be the very same resume tips that job seekers have been following for years. Here’s the run-through on some common tips that, in the current age of resume databases, may hold you back:
Myth #1: Show a breadth of experiences
We are quickly becoming a society of specialists. As a result, hiring managers gravitate to employees who have work experiences that build on each other, rather than job candidates who have a scattered job history. This trend is reflected in the emergence of semantic and contextual searching technologies that automatically rank candidates based on how relevant experiences listed in your resume are against the job employers are looking to fill. As a result, listing a smorgasbord of skills can work against you.
Solution: Keep your resume focused! Only list the experiences that are relevant and make sure to tailor each experience to be as relevant as possible. Consider the job description your cheat sheet.
Myth #2: Make your resume beautiful to stand out
While this is usually the case if you’re in a creative field, styling your resume can place you at a disadvantage. Employer databases regularly capture only a fraction of the content uploaded from a resume. Resumes with unique headers and formatting are even harder to upload. Meaning, if your information is not captured, it’s never considered.
Don’t believe it? Recall the last time you uploaded your resume into an online job application. How much of the information did you have to rearrange, to place in the correct order? Now recall all those times you weren’t given a chance to correct your information after submitting your resume.
Solution: Keep it simple! Make your resume format clean or use a template. Thousands of templates can be found online by simply doing a Google search.
Myth #3: Use a functional resume to emphasize skills and hide gaps
Let’s face it – less and less of us are sticking to a single career path, and the average employment duration is now less than five years. As a result, many job seekers want to blur the less applicable gaps in work experience by using a functional resume. However, without dates, applicant tracking systems are almost completely lost at organizing your information into a database and can no longer produce information on how recent or how deep your knowledge may be.
Solution: Keep your resume chronological. Highlight key skills in a summary statement, but keep experiences in an easy to follow format and order.