Writing a resume in the modern age is a tricky proposition. Resumes must appeal to both applicant tracking software and people. That in and of itself is a tricky balance to keep, never mind trying to position your experience in the best light.
Applicant tracking software is the name for how companies take resumes if they do not do so in person. If you applied online, that data goes into applicant tracking software. Most companies do their first cull of applicants using this software, so it pays to understand how it works.
This software is subject to the rules of computers. That means it is only as smart as the person who programmed it wanted it to be. In many cases, this means the capabilities for recognizing non-exact matches is very limited. Often, this means if it’s not in the resume in the exact same way it’s in the job description, the system will not present that candidate for hiring manager review.
After the applicant tracking system produces a pool of candidates, then it is up to the hiring manager to cull the resumes a second time. This cull usually involves double-checking the resumes for actual fit within the company and reading cover letters for the most interesting candidates. Only then are interview requests sent out.
Therein lies the trick for getting through the first screenings. Each part of your resume must appeal to both to the logic of a computer and the sensibilities of a human. Talk about a herculean task.
Fortunately, there are practical ways to go about this.
One of the steps is to put your resume in the active voice. For example, instead of saying “assisted with communicating team objectives,” just say “communicated team objectives.” Active voice shows ownership over that task and conveys confidence. Most companies use active voice when writing their descriptions, so that makes matching the job description easier.
Another step is to include a cover letter. Every company looks at the resume for the list of qualifications. The cover letter is an opportunity to show who you are as a person. When the hiring manager is sending out invitations, whether they feel a person will fit their company is a big factor. Without a cover letter, they have no way to predict the person’s fit within the company. Fortunately, many resume writing companies like usaresume.net offer cover letters with their resume help.