Job opportunities are often posted online. LinkedIn, the organisation’s website, or using platforms such as Workday and Taleo are common platforms where job vacancies are posted. Yet, some of your applications go unanswered regardless of how well suited you are for the role. This is because your application goes through an electronic system known as the Application Tracking System (ATS). It is a hiring and recruiting tool used by an increasing number of multinational and local organisations to analyse and filter out candidates before reaching the individual in charge of the recruitment process. Some resumes do not pass this system, and the individual applying for the job ends up not being considered for the posted role at all.
When submitting an application, here are a few tips to keep in mind to increase the chances of passing the ATS:
a. For every application, make sure to incorporate some of the keywords mentioned in the job posting. Ensure that you spend a little time on customizing your resume to each role before submitting its application.
b. Avoid using tables – the system is not efficient in picking up data or information within a table.
c. Make use of keywords in both their full forms as well as acronyms (e.g. Bachelors of Science; BSc) to ensure maximum searchability.
d. Use traditional fonts such as Times New Roman, Garamond, and Georgia.
e. Ensure that your resume is saved as a .pdf or .docx file format to ensure that the system can pick up the contents.
Although you should keep your job search relevant to your speciality you should also keep your options open, particularly in the current situation wherein there are quite a lot of uncertainties that we would not have considered previously. The aim is to gain work experience to keep adding to your resume, avoiding a large gap between jobs or completing your education and starting your career. That doesn’t mean you should apply to positions that you are not qualified for. Consider roles where you can use and develop another skill. For example, if a skill of yours is writing, then try applying for related positions such as content writing, blogging, social media content manager etc.
Another area essential in advancing your career is active networking. Identify your key areas of interest, regardless of how generic or specific it may be, and search on LinkedIn for individuals whose expertise lies in that area. When you find individuals whose experience or professional interests you greatly, send them a message regarding how you found them, what part of their experiences was intriguing, and that you would like to discuss further. Remember a key part of networking is to share information or experiences and is not necessarily a means to an end to obtain a job – do not make your applications the focus of the conversation.
Remember to have fun in the process. It will make the entire job search much less tedious and more enjoyable. There are many individuals out there eager to share their experiences and achievements who just need willing ears. The world is full of opportunities, and we just have to use our available avenues to explore what is best for us, subsequently getting paid for things we enjoy doing the most. So it is time to approach your applications with a fresh mindset and a spring in your step. Good Luck!