5 Simple (But Important) Tips To Improve Online Job Applications
“Back in my day, we would walk-in, hand in our resumes and speak with managers face-to-face!”
Believe it or not but millennials will probably be the last generation to have experienced this method of job search as a norm. As you can imagine, one benefit of this approach is that if you didn't have a strong resume you could still charm employers with your personality and communication skills. This way you could at least score yourself an interview.
As the market gets more competitive and technology advances, the job search process has changed drastically. In today’s market, companies and recruiters utilize online technology such as Applicant Tracking Systems to screen and sort their candidates. In other words, there's technically a robot going through your application which means many applications will generally go unseen by recruiters. Knowing this you have to be very diligent while applying for a job online, especially if it's a job you really have your heart set on. Here are five basic tips to improve your online applications to get you more responses.
1. Keywords = Major Key
Applicant Tracking Systems. The enemy of many. Generally speaking these systems scan resumes for key words that are provided by employers and their job descriptions. The system analyzes and sorts applications with percentages where employers will probably only move forward with the top 10%. No matter how qualified you may be for a position, if you are submitting a generic resume chances are your application will go straight to the reject pile.
Action: Do your part a tweak your resume. Use the job posting as a guide and plug in specific key words where possible.
2. PDF (It’s Free!)
Many of these expensive systems that employers use don't always read certain documents. As you know the most common software that people utilize is Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Reader (PDF) both of which are recommended. Microsoft Office can be hard to get your hands on (more so now that there are annual fees) however you can always convert your files into PDF which makes life easier for everyone and keeps your documents format in place.
Action: Get your hands on Adobe Acrobat reader and have a copy of your resume converted into pdf. You can get this free of cost directly from adobe here in a few simple clicks.
3. Images and Symbols Are A Foreign Language
If you want your resume to be easily read and scanned avoid using images and certain symbols as the systems usually aren't capable of scanning these things which can sometimes mess up the structure of your resume once uploaded. For example, have you ever uploaded a resume and noticed that your bullet point symbols disappear? This is why. Although technology has advanced, there's still some room for improvement. I personally still use bullet points but additional symbols and images such as logos and designs may or may not hinder your chances due to it being ineligible.