Sunday, March 18, 2012

It may not be your fault. ATS parsing flaws may be rejecting you!

Periodically one hears about the ‘groundswell’ growth of ATS usage by hiring companies and recruiters.  To be sure, more and more companies are purchasing ATS software to cut the cost of human labor. Are they really getting savings from it? Probably some are and some aren’t. You can join LinkedIn forums where you will see ATS users asking other users what they know about XYZ Company because they need to change ATS providers; theirs is not working for them.

For job seekers, like it or not ATS is here to stay. And like it or not ATS software is not designed to make it easier for job seekers! They may want you to believe it is easier, but it simply is not!

So how do resume writers deal with it? Some focus purely on key words and phrases that parsing software is looking for. I focus not only on the key words and phrases, but on the parsing software flaws that prevent a resume from being parsed properly. A job seeker may get rejected for something that has nothing to do with his or her qualifications! Some resumes contain attributes that prevent them from being parsed properly - sometimes the parser can’t even find the candidates name!

I have created an extensive checklist of ATS flaws I’ve learned about in the past several years. When I assist candidates with their resumes I take a conservative approach in making certain that I apply every bit of this acquired knowledge to their resume. Am I sure I’ve covered everything that can possibly go wrong? NO! Because new ATS companies are constantly emerging. Each new company does things a little differently which sometimes spawns new issues. ATS software companies will not tell me or anyone else what they cannot handle in a resume. That would be negative marketing. So they say nothing. This is why I take a conservative approach to make certain every resume I create is what I call ‘ATS-ready’. That is, it will meet every criteria I know about. In addition to the text of the resume, I deal with resume attributes involving format, word processing tools and features, various methods of resume submission and much more.

Unfortunately, I know of no research project that has developed credible statistics regarding what percentage of companies that use ATS or what percent of errors ATS parsing causes. But I do know there is a proliferation of providers. It's unlikely this would be the case if the market and usage were not growing rapidly. Probably most ATS marketing departments have some of the growth data, but they are not sharing it. Job seekers can be certain there’s a high probability that their resumes will have to pass through ATS systems so I continue my quest to learn more about ATS flaws. It appears to be an ‘evergreen’ project. If you hear about one, please let me know!

I'm happy to help anyone wishing to make their resume ATS-ready. Simply request resume service from my website.

Visit for more job search help. Or email me at

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Finally a hiring manager is looking at your resume. What is he or she thinking?

Subconsciously, probably this: “You have 5 to 30 seconds or even less to make me want to put your resume into my ‘further reading’ pile! If you can’t interest me quickly, I’m done with you!” 

Is your resume up to the test? Job searching is like war! It’s you vs. your competition. Your strategy, your tactics, your preparedness must be sharp, practiced and well thought out. If your resume looks like a book it will take a fraction of a second to be discarded. It’s an advertisement, not a book, a biography or an obituary.

Like it or not, those who read your resume have time constraints, a big pile of resumes to read and other matters on their plates. Most of the resumes they view are poorly written, mundane, don’t come close to fitting the job description and a myriad of other negatives. Hiring processes are disqualification processes. Are you going to feed them bait?

If you make the mistake of creating a ‘me too’ resume you are not likely to receive a call or even am email. Hiring managers and those who help them fill positions want to see resumes that are responsive to the hiring managers’ needs. Sure your resume is all about you as it should be, but if you want a positive reaction to it, feed the hiring managers’ needs! 

A hiring manager looks at the hiring process differently than you. He or she is trying to determine four fundamental things: Can you do the job? Do I like you? Will you fit in with my team? Can I afford you? Your resume can only give the hiring manager a glimpse of insight into the first question. He/she will need to talk to you to fill in the rest. Your job is to entice the manager to call you based upon what he/she reads in your resume. So get it right!

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

The first 5 seconds are critical.

That’s the amount of time you have to make a first glance impression with your resume.
It’s the amount of time you have to make a first impression when you walk in the door for an interview.
It’s the amount of time you have to make a first impression when you meet each interviewer.
It's the amount of time it takes ATS to reject you.

Are you not getting positive responses to your resume? Do you get the feeling the interview may be over before it even starts? Do you feel like they’re rushing you out the door at the end of the interview? If these things are happening to you, you should get professional help. 

Do it right! Otherwise the probability of finding the job you want diminishes with the length of time you spend searching! You can get help by visiting

Monday, March 5, 2012

Differentiate yourself from your competition. Here's How:

There are two ways for a job candidate to stand out from the crowd. One is to have a perfectly horrible resume that will get tossed out immediately. The other is to have an excellent resume that you have carefully 'tuned' to be responsive to the advertised needs of a hiring manager.

Create a strong results-focused resume! Make sure it responds to the hiring managers needs! This will differentiate you from your competition and give you the greatest advantage to getting an interview and winning the job.

What this means is doing a lot of hard work! Your best advantage is gained by 'tuning' your resume for each and every position you apply to. If you don't do it, I guarantee someone among your competition will, and you will lose!

You will understand this better if you learn how ATS parsing software works. Why, because the vast majority of companies today utilize ATS software to improve their HR operations. 

ATS parsing software is particular about what it 'looks' for and can fail to parse correctly if your resume contains certain attributes it can't handle. The attributes that can confound ATS parsing may have nothing to do with the words in the resume. So don't let anyone tell you it's just about having the right key words and phrases embedded in your resume! The inability to parse your resume is one of the chief reasons for rejection or lack of response!

You can make sure your resume is ATS-ready by engaging me to consult with you.

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You can get more job search help by visiting Hooch Resumes or by emailing me.