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how to write a resume to get job interviews

Does the applicant tracking system (ATS) reject resumes?

Our objective is to help you to achieve your career goals with a resume that highlights your effectiveness for landing an interview with a hiring manager. You can blame the ATS black hole for not getting interviews but start self-reflecting. Are you applying for the right role? Are you speaking in the employer's language? Are you meeting the requirements? Are you shooting the shot thinking that employers will give you a chance?

Your resume is seen by the hiring manager at last but before that, your resume will go through multiple scans on an ATS database i.e. online bots, sourcers, recruiters and hiring managers.

The resume needs to be customized for each job. Templates for resumes would only work if you know how to showcase your skills. A pretty-looking resume template without the right content is a poor job search approach. Content is still the king!

Can anyone beat/cheat the ATS system?

You may be able to stuff the keywords all over or use the white fonts to get an interview to beat the ATS but you will be caught during the interview. Please don't lie or cheat the system to get hired. it is not worth it. Please stop worrying about beating the ATS with ATS hacks or ATS-friendly templates because you need to be qualified for the role first. Presentation, layout and content on the resume is the most important part of getting an interview. Apply for the right role only when applying online.

The resume needs to be customized to each job posting as each industry/role has its requirements when drafting the job description. Most job seekers apply with one resume, they spray and pray. If you look at one role for customer service and another role for customer service, the job descriptions are not identical. What makes you think that the last resume is good for the new job. Your resume is about matching the needs of future employers with your past experience, instead of an objective statement on the resume work on what value you could bring. Don't believe the myth about ATS-compliant resumes, or ATS-proof hacks if you have no idea about how to write a resume. You could spend money on the ATS-friendly template but if you don't have content that pleases human eyes, you are tossed out. Resume writers use career strategy sessions to understand their career history and develop a master's resume. . Done-for-you services might not work for everyone. Learn how to edit yourself as the resume needs to be customized. We only work with career professionals who have clarity on the targeted title and niche.

Can you write a resume using Chat GPT/ AI?

Here is the sample video we tested and how Chat GPT is outdated and not trained well enough to write a resume yet. At first Chat GPT listed the full address, which is concerning for identity theft if candidates are posting resumes on career sites publically. Chat GPT also listed objective statements instead of career summary and references available upon request with reference details which is unwarranted in the current resume world. Nothing was outstanding on the resume Chat GPT pushed out. Candidates need to know if they qualify for the role and then input prompts based on the job postings. Output on the Chat GPT and any other AI tool is great when prompts are inputted with the knowledge. Putting great input requires experience and knowledge of how to highlight relevant accomplishments and details from job postings. A resume is all about content strategy based on meeting the qualifications from the job postings. Chat GPT helps with content for people with language barriers, English as a second language, grammar, and great bullets but candidates still need to give great prompts for the output to meet requirements and highlight the hard and soft skills.

Are there myths/misinformation about ATS?

ATS doesn't reject the resume unless you failed the pre-screening. It is always a human behind rejecting the resume based on meeting the requirements. Filters are set by a job poster to streamline the hiring process. ATS can filter you out to the "non-fit" candidates based on the filters each employer uses during the pre-screening process. Your information could be archived and later be matched with other roles if you meet the criteria. This is why you might have been contacted by a recruiter months later if they find you on their system as a match. There are over 400 ATS tools in the market, it is impossible to BEAT THE BOTS but you can please for sure by letting the bots parse information easily. Make your resume ATS-friendly by avoiding complicated pretty looking templates. Your information should easily be able to flow from the documents to the system without error when converted into text or the ATS candidate's database. Recruiters could see the original attachment, word or pdf on the ATS if they choose to. It depends on the type of ATS they use. A few ATS parses the information to the text format for recruiters to view. A simple template is the way to go!

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a technology that enables you to convert different types of documents, such as scanned paper documents, PDF files, or images captured by a digital camera into editable and searchable data. OCR technology is the automated conversion of an image-based PDF, Docx, into a text-based machine-readable file. This is where ATS may conflict with translating the right information, you have to be cautious on how to highlight skills for ATS to parse the information correctly for human eyes. Most ATS would have the ability to download the original resume without being parsed. When you focus on the design rather than the content, parsing may miss crucial key competencies. Please focus on the content than the fancy design.

Some companies could look at all the applications, in-fact bigger companies have mandates to go through every single resume. Imagine how much time recruiters will spend time on 1000 applications. Apply only for the right role, don't shoot the shot without talking to the job poster/ hiring manager. Meet all the mandatory requirements.

Once you are in ATS, you will forever be in ATS unless the company chooses to delete or clean the data or archive it. It is important to target the right role to avoid being flagged by employers. Avoid applying for multiple roles if you are not qualified. Usually, companies would ask you to reapply for a similar role only after 6 months, it depends on their internal process.

Recruiters could use a Boolean search to find you on the ATS

Recruiters use Boolean search to find the matching candidates within their database with the help of ATS. Recruiters could locate your old resume by using the database if you happen to be the match for the role. There are many Boolean search commands, and it depends on the type of ATS, and how well Recruiters know the Boolean search and key skills. Search criteria depend on many aspects. Search criteria could be based on the rating recruiters have previously used for the same type of role. The most popular Boolean searches are as follows:

" " Quotation marks

AND, OR, NOT, + plus sign, - minus sign, * wild card etc.

Filter used by online applicant tracking system for jobs
Filter used by online applicant tracking system for jobs

There is always a reason why a company would ask you to reapply for the same role, honour their request. Some ATS will allow you to add a new resume to your old profile some may not. Depending on how companies customize the ATS tool. ATS could have the ability to merge the duplicate info automatically or manually. It is wise to upload a new Resume with up-to-date information to end up in the future search. Avoid duplicate profiles. Recruiters could upload resumes manually and import them from the various career sites directly.

Companies have a scoring /rating system that plays a crucial part in getting the interviews. Scoring is based on the skill set or predefined criteria selected by hiring managers. Skill sets are related to job requirements, education, certifications, industry, hard skills, soft skills, location, and many other criteria. Few ATS tools like Taleo heavily rely on the keywords for scoring purposes, which means the more keywords the better. This is where candidates try to game the system by stuffing keywords even when they are not qualified. Good recruiters will disregard the scoring and try to scan all the resumes every day to ensure hiring managers get the right candidates. This is why capturing the attention of human eyes in 10 secs is extremely important. If you meet the checklist given by hiring managers to the recruiters, it is easy to get good ratings. Focus on the requirements of the job and communicate based on the job descriptions.

Recruiters could add must-haves and nice to have predefined in the system to match the qualified candidates. If someone has multiple keywords based on a predefined skillset in the system they might get a higher score. The stuffing keyword technique doesn't guarantee you will get interviews because your resume will be scanned by human eyes. It is important to use the keywords strategically in an ethical way by showcasing the accomplishments. Please stop using the white font keywords trick to hack the ATS. Eventually, you will be tossed out or flagged by employers.

Recruiters could assign a rating score from 1-5 or a percentage to your profile best on the match. Once you are identified as a good match, they schedule an interview from ATS. Everything happens within ATS, from screening to a job offer being accepted. ATS is a digital filing cabinet used by companies to document and track the hiring process. You will remain on the ATS forever for compliance reasons. Your information might be archived or deleted in a few years.

When do you get rejected by ATS automatically?

Employers could also add prescreening, which is called "Knock-out questions", which filters out non-qualified candidates automatically. This is where you could get rejection emails right away sometimes without a human looking at the resume. Recruiters are responsible for providing qualified candidates to the hiring manager. In order to weed out the unqualified candidates and save time, pre-screening tools are used. Those who failed the knock-out questions would have a hard time landing any interviews. Recruiters might not scan your resume. You will be disqualified automatically. There are 100% requirements for certain jobs and sectors, you need to meet all the requirements to get an interview. It depends on how employers automate the system, you might get the rejection email in 24 hours or within 7 calendar days, you never know how the system is automated. Be careful on knock-out questions which are used as pre-screening techniques. If you don't meet the must-have requirement, you need other strategies to reach out to hiring managers. Go through the video to understand what could be knock-out questions that screen out the non-qualified candidates before assigning the score.

Examples of Knock-out questions on job applications
Example of knock-out questions

Take a look at the screenshot of how the scoring system is being used by one of the ATS tools employers use for recruiting. Not all employers set up the rating system the same way, this is why it is difficult to understand behind the scene in ATS. This is why applying for the right role matters the most. Employers also have the mandate to hire qualified candidates based on the job description to avoid compliance issues.

Rating on the candidates profile used by ATS
Rating on the candidates profile used by ATS

Rating on ATS for job seeker
Rating on ATS for job seeker

This video was from a few years ago, things have changed in the ATS world which we go into detail here. We teach customized sessions targeting your industry. Our clients have been hired at top companies just by taking a Resume course alone. It is important to stand out on the resume in an ethical way without trying to game the system. It is crucial to write a resume which is easier to parse by ATS. There are certain things ATS is not able to translate to text. We cover a few tips during our training.

Disclaimer: These comments on the video do not necessarily represent all the issues related to your resume; however, we strive to provide you with expert high-level feedback and recommendations. You will find that each person who reads your resume will have a slightly differing opinion. We encourage you to carefully consider our suggestions and use them to strengthen your document.

This video has 3+ steps. What Is an Application Tracking System? How to write a Resume to please the bots? How to land a job interview with an amazing resume-writing formula? How to write a resume to please Hiring Managers and Recruiters? Top tips for Resume writing on your own.

Rajesh, Finance Operations Manager Featured in the news, read here

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Sweta Regmi is a hiring manager from award-winning companies turned into Founder and CEO at Teachndo, a Certified Career & Résumé Strategist. Sweta is a globally recognized top career expert, speaker, and LinkedIn Top Community Voice for Career Development, Job Search Strategies, Personal Branding, Public Speaking, Resume Writing, and Interviewing with over a decade of experience empowering career professionals. Sweta's insights are featured in CBC National News Prime Time & Local, Global National News Top Story & Global Local News, CNBC, Wall Street Journal, HuffPost, CTV News, City News, FOX 26 News, Daily Mail, BNN Bloomberg, 5 times in Globe and Mail, Yahoo News, National Post, MSN,, FORBES, Toronto Sun, 80+ times in LinkedIn News, LinkedIn Hello Monday award-winning podcast, LinkedIn Creators, Indeed, Employment services, Top Colleges and Universities, Career Conferences, Leadership Conferences, and 100+Top media outlets have widely recognized Regmi's expertise, see here. Regmi has also partnered with leading brands and organizations to elevate and spearhead career strategies, career sites, and outplacement and establish non-profit employment services partnerships. Her RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards nomination by Women of Influence in 2022 and 2023 further demonstrates her success as a recognized career expert in Canada. Regmi is also the Amazon Best Seller of 21 Resilient Women: Stories of Courage, Growth, and Transformation. The book has been recognized by libraries, ministers and MPs in Canada.

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