Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Don’t Choke the ATS!

Aside from the need for key words and phrases on a resume, there is no readily available information that I have ever been able to find that deals with document attribute issues that can cause some ATS software to incorrectly parse information contained in a resume. 

I have spent a considerable amount of time researching this topic and have developed a set of rules I use in writing resumes that have a very strong chance of being compatible with the parsing inability of all ATS software applications. Applying my rules for writing resumes does not bypass ATS, but rather, it causes the resume to conform to the limited capabilities of ATS parsing software so that it is not rejected because of attributes in it.
‘Attributes’ means formatting, graphics and even file types as opposed to the actual text in the document. And when the application process requires an ASCII text file, even those need to be edited to assure compatibility and proper parsing. I have developed rules for editing txt documents for ATS as well.

By investing my time in ATS research I have become a Subject Matter Expert on ATS parsing software. ATS software is developed and marketed by over 100 companies. Some of it is good and lots of it is bad. One only has to join some of the ATS groups on LinkedIn to see that every day many companies are searching for better ATS software. 
at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Utilize many tactics in your job search, not just one.

If you are searching on company websites, the probability of getting a job may be better, but is still very low. The application process used by many companies includes the use of ATS software designed to have a computer filter you out. Furthermore, you can get rejected for things that have nothing to do whatsoever with the wonderful text you write in your resume. Also, the process will usually require you to spend a lot of time answering questions that are already on your resume. You may be asked to include your salary expectations. If you refuse you probably will not be allowed to proceed further. If you comply you may be rejected for not fitting in a range the company wants you to be in. At the very least you will be in a poor negotiating position if they want to make you an offer.

Other search tactics should be used in your search and a higher percentage of you time should be devoted to working them. For instance, dedicated networking, properly executed is far better.

So is doing a superior job on your LinkedIn profile and using LinkedIn as an inbound marketing tool. Setting your profile up properly consumes comparatively little of your overall search time. The nice thing about it is that once done, you can allow it to work for you as companies search for people with your skills and experience. You only need to update it occasionally with improvements you think of.

Using external (3rd party) recruiters is also a better approach, AS LONG AS you get connected with the right recruiter. You can learn how to make sure the recruiter you are working with can really help you. There’s plenty to learn about how external recruiters work and what to watch out for. But just don’t sit back and think they are going to work for you full time. Quite the contrary is true! So keep on using the other tactics in your toolbox.

The best tactic of all is talking to hiring managers BEFORE you send in any documents. There are many techniques you can learn for identifying potential hiring managers. You should learn how to cold-call. It is not easy for many people but is a highly successful approach. How to cold-call requires a lot of learning and practice in order to do it properly. But cold-calling is the most rewarding, highest probability of success approach of all. And it will differentiate you from your competition, which is an ideal situation for you. If you have networked properly, often cold-calling can be replaced by warm-calling.

It is said that nothing really worthwhile is easy. Learn how to identify hiring managers and how to conduct cold-calls. You will be way ahead of your competition. By the way, cold-calling technique is a skill you can apply to many things in life besides job searching.

If you want help, I offer consulting service on all of the above search tactics.

Get help with this and other topics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com and by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And add a comment if you like this post.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Make sure you want to work for a company before you apply to it.

The hiring authority surely will check you out thoroughly. You owe it to yourself to vet them too.
If they are a publicly traded company there is a strong chance you can find out lots of information about them. If they are public but small there may not be a lot of information, but there are still ways to find out about them even if they are a private company. LinkedIn is just one of them. Often the company website is the place to start.
What should you want to know? Perhaps the first question should be, “If I get the job, are they likely to be around for a while or am I likely to be job searching again soon?” A close second might be "What is the company culture like?" "Do people like working for them?" Another is "Would I like working for them?"
Wouldn’t it be wise to learn what the hiring manager is like? Find out how to identify the hiring manager and talk to that person before you apply.
And there are many more questions of course:

Why is this position open?
What is the most significant problem you have to solve?
What are your three most important goals to achieve this year?
What are characteristics of the ideal employee in this position?
How will you measure the performance of the person in this position?
Can I meet the other employees I’ll be working most closely with?
Can I take a tour?
What are my opportunities for growth and advancement within the company?
If I am the successful applicant, who will my supervisor be?
What is the management style and culture of this firm?
Can you tell me what you like best about working for this company?
Is there anything you do not like about working here?
What are the biggest challenges of this job?
What is the normal workweek?
And many more of particular interest to you.
Vet the company too. They will vet you. Links for assessing a company:

http://biz.yahoo.com/p/ list of industries and sectors
http://www.hoovers.com/ pay site- get private company info as well as public company

Make sure you are ready to make informed decisions, not uneducated mistakes. 

Add a comment and get more job search help by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com or by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com