Let’s face it: When you see a job opportunity online, it’s time for excitement. Rejoice! Of course, the next step involves actually submitting your resume through the online system.
Keep in mind, you should always leverage your network to submit your resume through someone who currently works at the desired company but we digress. If that ideal situation doesn’t exist, you’ll have to submit online. (If it does exist, they would e-mail your resume to the hiring manager and/or recruiter as well as submit your resume through their employee referral system so you’re flagged appropriately in the applicant tracking system.)
There are four ways to stand out in the dreaded perceived black hole better known as the applicant tracking system — also known as ATS for anyone keepin’ score.
1. Revamp your resume to include key words relevant to the job description. Miriam Salpeter writes in U.S. News & World Report, “Find key words in the job description and make sure you indicate how your accomplishments address those requirements. Be sure to customize your resume and/or cover letter slightly to each specific job.”
Why is this so important, you ask? Recruiters go online and do searches based on criteria such as key words. Although your resume will be attached directly to the job you’re interested in pursuing and end up in the recruiter’s dashboard, you’ll also increase the chances of getting noticed by other recruiters who need to be proactive in their searches.
2. Grammar-proof your application. Online apps are never fun, are they? Well, consider it like a hard copy application and answer every question. Take it seriously, spell check and grammar-proof and realize it will indeed be utilized in a background check. Net net: Make sure it’s accurate.
3. Maintain one candidate profile per company. You may think it’s savvy to create multiple profiles for the same company, well, we’re here to tell you that’s not a wise decision. Yes, you should pursue as many quality jobs that you’d like, but ensure this all falls under the umbrella of ONE profile. Otherwise, it simply creates confusion and also clutters the database.
4. Complete every field within the application and submit a cover letter while you’re at it. This may sound basic but you’d be surprised how many candidates submit incomplete information, as well as providing old cell phone numbers (this goes back to the profile again — every time you submit through a company’s online system, be sure to verify your contact information hasn’t changed since the last time you submitted).