Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why can't ATS parsing software read your resume? There's a lot more to it than just having the right keywords in it!

Today there are over 200 unique ATS software programs sold to improve the hiring practices of companies. ATS software is proliferating. Almost all large companies, many medium size companies, many recruiting firms and even many small companies have purchased ATS software licenses in the hopes of simplifying their work and saving hiring process costs.

The problem is the parsing software that “reads” a resume. Most parsing software cannot read some resumes correctly … or at all. The software is written by ATS providers, 3rd party companies and some is home-grown, written by the hiring company itself.

Most people will tell you it is important to have the right key words in your resume. That is correct. ATS parsing software is looking for them. It is also important to use the key words in context. However, you can have all the right keywords, use them in context and still get rejected because of attributes caused by word processing features you have used to create the document that cause parsing difficulties. To make matters worse there are other document considerations to worry about as well.

Are key words the clue? Not alone. The problem is not just whether the resume has the correct key words in it but those elusive attributes that the resume contains. 

Today there are over 200 unique ATS software programs sold to improve the hiring practices of companies. ATS software is proliferating. Almost all large companies, many medium size companies, many recruiting firms and even many small companies have purchased ATS software licenses in the hopes of simplifying their work and saving hiring process costs.

The problem is the parsing software that “reads” a resume. Most parsing software cannot read some resumes correctly … or at all. The software is written by ATS providers, 3rd party companies and some is home-grown, written by the hiring company itself. Each software is a little different.

Most people will tell you it is important to have the right key words in your resume. That is correct because ATS parsing software is looking for them. It is also important to use the key words in context. However, you can have all the right keywords, use them in context and still get rejected because of attributes caused by word processing features you have used to create the document. To make matters worse there are other considerations to worry about as well.

Are key words the clue? Not alone. The problem is not just whether the resume has the correct key words in it but those elusive attributes that the resume contains.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Monday, September 29, 2014

What skills should you list on your resume?



The answer depends a lot upon the kind of position being sought. Guidance is best determined from what is written in a position description.

Another consideration is how long ago the skill was relevant.

Today’s employers expect candidates to know basic computing skills and office programs, so listing them is not always necessary. However, when you do list any skill, tell the employer how well you know the specific skill by using the term in context in the experience section. Write about the accomplishment achieved and reference the skill used to achieve it.

Simply listing a specific skill will not help an employer understand how well you know it or what your capabilities are.

If you fill your resume with the results of your work using skills in context you should see an improvement in your job search results. Listing outdated skills is nothing more than fluff which detracts from the resume in most cases.


Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Your first interview may be the most important one. Are you ready?



Congratulations to you if your resume just got you an interview! You’ve managed something many people have difficult achieving. Whatever you did in your resume was successful. Now, are you (or were you) ready for the interview?

You may have received an email or a text message letting you know to expect a call, but more likely you will simply receive a phone call.

These are some things you should be prepared for:

Ask for name, title and phone number and the role of the person calling you as well as the name of the company.

Practice enunciating your words clearly and at a moderate speed. And remind yourself to answer questions crisply and concisely, not ramble, not talk too much, not monopolize the call time. The points you should not do are the things that will get you disqualified most quickly if you do them.

If your cell number was given on your resume, make certain you keep it charged at all times.

Keep a copy of your resume handy.

If the call is garbled ask to call them back at a specific time.

Before the call ends close on what the next steps will be. Who will do what and when?

Make sure the caller understands you will follow up if you do not hear back.

If the caller is not the hiring manager ask who the hiring manager is by name and title.

If the caller is the hiring manager, find out what his/her critical need is. It is also very important to find out what his/her email address and telephone number is. This will enable you to send a thank you message that reiterates how you can help resolve whatever the hot button is and get a face-to-face interview arranged.

This first contact with the employer may be the most important for getting the job.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. Please feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

All resumes need to answer some fundamental questions. How does yours fare?

The following may seem obvious and trivial to many people, but you would not believe the number of resumes I see that lack critical information. The order information is presented in the resume will vary depending upon a number of factors such as key job requirements, industry, job types, new graduate situations, employment gaps, etc. 

In the U.S. personal information and pictures should not be included because of Federal discrimination laws that hiring companies must adhere to.

Who am I?
How can you reach me?
What is my brand?
What are my core competencies?
Critically important: What have I accomplished in my work? What were the results? How did they benefit the companies I worked for? How did I achieve them?
When did I achieve those accomplishments?
Who did I work for?
What is my educational background?
What certifications do I have that are applicable to the position I’m seeking?
What specialized skills do I have that are applicable to the position?


Ask yourself, is there anything in my resume that characterizes me as careless, unprofessional, unable to write crisply and succinctly, or lacking knowledge of contemporary resume writing? I often see spelling and grammar errors. Some people are verbose and write in paragraph form. Many resumes have a crammed appearance making them difficult to read quickly. Often the appearance is not professional, like items are not aligned. And the most frequent problem is they are not ATS-ready.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. Please leave a comment if you would like.

Monday, September 22, 2014

If you think the job search process is easy you may not doing it effectively.

Using a computer to visit the many available job boards to find openings is easy. The actual process of  applying is often quite tedious but also not that difficult. But is this search tactic effective? I submit the answer is no, it is not.

It is widely understood that answering job ads on job boards results in few interviews and far fewer hires. Depending upon who you listen to, the numbers are low. Very low.

The response rate and number of interviews you get can be improved by doing the following:

Get referred to the hiring manager by a current employee. Companies like the who-you-know approach. They are more likely to trust the opinions of their employees and it costs them far less per hire than if they were to pay recruiting fees or salaries, even when they have a referral bonus program.

Search out the name and title of the hiring manager and make direct contact with that person. Learning the techniques for doing this should be a high priority for all job seekers. If you feel uncomfortable doing it, that is the most important reason for you to learn how.


Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And please leave a comment for this post.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Definition of a good Job Seeker



A good job seeker is one who conducts a job search from the perspective of marketing, advertising and sales.

It takes all three components to conduct a robust job search. Job seekers cannot afford not to learn the fundamental skills required to perform each of these three components, particularly if they are not already well versed in them. Just having a resume is an insufficient way to compete for the limited number of jobs available today.

If you are a job seeker or considering becoming one, there is a lot of preparation for you to do if you are not already skilled in marketing, advertising and sales. Get help if you need it.

If you don’t do it your competition will.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to avoid ATS when applying to jobs.



I hope LinkedIn’s  “Apply on company website” button is not new to any job seekers. The critical point is this: It enables you to apply with just your profile, NOT your resume. That avoids all those ATS parsing issues caused by attributes you may have unknowingly built into your resume.

When the company initially sees only your LinkedIn profile information, ATS parsing software is not involved, doesn’t filter you out of contention, doesn’t fail to respond to you, doesn’t drop you into the “black hole”. Of course you still need to make sure your resume is ATS-ready because eventually you will likely have to submit it through the formal application process where ATS may be involved at the front end. But you may have had at least a telephone interview first. That puts you far ahead of people who don’t use the LinkedIn process to apply.

Your LinkedIn profile is a very effective inbound marketing tool, far more effective than a resume posted on a job board. This is because it enables you to provide much more information about yourself than a resume can, particularly regarding key words. So make sure you thoroughly enter information in each of the profile sections and make certain it is easy for people to contact you. (I suggest entering your contact information in the summary section as well as the how-to-contact section of your profile.)

Get your resume ready for interviews and your profile ready for LinkedIn inbound marketing and try it out. Go to your profile home page, select Jobs, select Advanced search (upper right hand corner of the Jobs page), select more options, choose whatever filters you want sorted for you and hit the Search button. Start out with just a few filters. Jobs will be displayed from which you can select those you wish to apply to. If there are too many, add more filters.

Open jobs you are interested in, review them carefully making sure you meet the requirements, and hit the Apply on company website button. Your profile will be sent to the company. By the way, you do not have to be a Premium LinkedIn member to use this feature. If you have done a good job preparing your documents you should see a much better and higher quality response rate than you get on job boards.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Monday, September 15, 2014

If you meet the requirements of a job ad and you are a perfect fit, why would you not get a response?


If this is happening to you my first question would be “Have you cited examples of the results of your work or do you simply list all of your responsibilities?”

Responsibilities are important but it’s the results and accomplishments of your work that gets interviews. That makes sense doesn’t it? If all you write about is what you did, how is a hiring manger to understand if you can do the job?

What your responsibilities are (or were) is important and often they do not take more than a few words to say. In fact sometimes just your job title says it all. For instance if you were a Sales Manager and a company is looking for a Sales Manager, they certainly know what a Sales Manager does, so you need not explain it in minute detail.

If it is not obvious from your title what your responsibilities were, try to restrict your explanation to one brief sentence. An employer is more interested in how well you performed in the job. From that they can infer what you might be able to do for them.

How do you create the right words to describe your results? After each bullet statement ask yourself “So what? Other people do this too. What was the outcome of my work? What did it accomplish? What was the benefit of it to the company?” Think in terms of how things were better because you did something. Quantify results where possible.

Of course another possibility for the lack of response is that your resume is not ATS-ready. The ATS parsing software may not be able to read it.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Contacting the hiring manager BEFORE submitting your application should be a high priority tactic of any job search.





I regularly advise my clients to use this job search tactic. There are ten reasons to do so. It has the highest probability of landing the job.

        NEEDS DISCOVERY: A job description does not necessarily reflect the hiring manger’s highest priority needs. These can only be found out by speaking to the hiring manager and having the chance respond with examples about how you can resolve the needs.

        DIFFERENTIATION: Perhaps the most important reason is by using this tactic you will differentiate yourself from your competition!  Few people take the trouble to learn how to find out who the hiring manager is and speak to him/her. Differentiation is the foundation of a marketing yourself and creating a robust search!

        COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE: By having direct knowledge of the hiring manager’s hot buttons and responding to them, you have the advantage over your competition

        RESUME AND COVER LETTER: By learning the hot buttons you can tune your resume and cover letter to be responsive to the critical need before you submit.

        COVER LETTERS: It makes the writing a cover letter simple. You have a name, a position, a reason for writing, and the ability to reiterate the points you made during your conversation.  

        OMBUDSMAN: It offers you the chance to get your resume into the hiring manager's hand without going through the company hiring process and protocols, giving you the opportunity to have the most important person in the process to be your ombudsman.

        MOTIVATION / INITIATIVE: It demonstrates that you are motivated, that you take the initiative. You take matters into your own hands demonstrating that you are independent, action-oriented, creative, motivated and you take the initiative in managing your search.

        HIDDEN JOBS: Sometimes the hiring manager may not have a position that fits you but but after speaking to you, likes what you say and decides to make adjustments in the organization and create a new position just for you. It happens!

        FUTURE JOBS: Sometimes it opens up other opportunities at a later date. Sure, you may have found these out later in your search, or never found out about them at all!

        CONTROL: It gives you the greatest control over your destiny, making it the most effective approach to job searching.
        This tactic requires considerable practice. It involves learning how to identify who the hiring manager is and how to get past the gate keepers to make direct voice contact. I offer coaching on this and many other tactics.

If you are fearful of calling the hiring manager, here is a very worthwhile link with some “how-to-overcome-fear” guidelines.

Here is another link to some good advice on cold-calling specifically. Cold-calling is one of the many ways to approach the hiring manager. In the article I only disagree with the point about leaving messages. Messages are too easy to delete.


Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

When you are looking for a job why not just email the Hiring Manager directly?



From the standpoint of simplicity, e-mail has been a great way to engage with a person.  It’s quick and easy to do.

But for reaching out to a hiring manager don’t count on it.

The manager on the other end has no idea who you are.  Despite the fact that you often engage people by email, it’s not the best way to build a new relationship. 

E-mails are terrible for conveying tone and there’s obviously no body language.

E-mails have become so common place they are a form of white noise.  People don’t react right away and it’s easy to just click ‘delete’ if they don’t know you. 

Without so much as an introduction from someone it is absolutely impersonal. There is no person attached to the e-mail, it’s just an e-mail address, many times without even a full name.

Texting is even worse in terms of white noise. It has all the attributes of emailing.

Only talking on the phone, asking intelligent questions and LISTENING will allow you to uncover problems.  Without knowing the problems you cannot show you are the solution, thus you are not likely to be of interest to the person.

Speaking to a person is the best way to communicate effectively. Speaking face-to-face is the optimum approach. Call the hiring manager, strike up a conversation and see if you can arrange a meeting, perhaps over a cup of coffee.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Job seekers: Why bother talking to hiring managers?


Because talking, asking intelligent questions and LISTENING will allow you to uncover the reasons the hiring manager needs help, the problems he/she needs resolved. 
                                            
When you understand the hiring manager’s problems you can show why you are the solution.

Talk to the hiring manager BEFORE you apply for the job. That will enable you to tune your resume and cover letter to show how you are the solution!

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.