Building an interview-winning Resume requires understanding your Resume’s audience comes in two-parts. This includes the applicant tracking system (ATS) as well as a human being who determines your interview-worthiness.
All too commonly, job seekers aim to please one audience or another, but rarely both. For instance, selecting a Resume format that looks good to the human eye but is not ATS-friendly may be problematic. Similarly, an ATS-friendly format that is bland or lacks appropriate messaging/context may fall flat to the human reader.
Applicant Tracking System
Most companies use an applicant tracking system for managing recruiting and hiring activities. Among many functionalities, ATS is used for screening job applicants. This involves analyzing and interpreting the content on the applicant’s Resume vs the requirements listed on the job announcement.
ATS is simply an “umbrella term” for the software (coded by humans) that are used by companies. Needless to say, no two ATS function exactly alike. In addition, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of ATS used in Corporate America today. I ran a quick Google search and found a bunch like ApplicantStack, Breezy HR, BrightMove, Bullhorn, IBM Watson Talent, Greenhouse Software, iCIMS Recruit, JazzHR, Jobsoid, Jobvite, Lever, Newton, Recruiterbox, SmartRecruit, The Applicant Manager, VIVAHR, Workday, and Zoho Recruit. This list of ATS is the tip of the iceberg.
Without getting into the nitty gritty of how ATS works (maybe on a future post), it’s important to appreciate the role that it plays in the applicant screening process. Simply put, satisfying ATS requires selecting an ATS-friendly format as well as using keywords and phrases to establish your Three Pillars, which is a topic that I wrote about previously.
Upon surviving ATS, typically your Resume (and Cover Letter) make their way through to a human being (HR or hiring manager). This is often a busy individual with a bevy of other responsibilities, including hiring for multiple positions (not just yours). Even after ATS screening, there may be tens of qualified applicants to select from.
Your likelihood of success with the human being is enhanced when presenting a document that attracts (and keeps) attention while also communicating a clear, concise, and proactive messaging.
Subjectivity is a major variable when it comes to human beings. For instance, page length is a notoriously subjective topic. Some hiring managers like a one-page Resume, while others prefer a two-page Resume. Needless to say, human beings may be swayed by many different factors, whereas ATS is unemotional.
In Conclusion: Understanding Your Resume’s Audience
The key to this post is understanding the dual-nature of your Resume’s audience. It requires developing a document that speaks to both the ATS and human being(s). To that end, sometimes, building a 2nd Focus (and 3rd) is beneficial for creating hyper-targeted alternative versions of your Resume.
Need help developing an ATS-friendly and visually appealing Resume? Consider my competitively-priced Resume Refresh service, or my comprehensive Resume Packages. Questions? Contact Us. I can’t wait to hear from you!