Getting Your Resume Through the Door

How do you overcome the technology or screening process for resumes?

By Lisa Chenofsky Singer
As appeared in “Ask the Career Coach” Column on MillburnPatch.com

 

Dear Career Coach Lisa,

What value has technology brought to the recruitment process? How do you work around the technology screening to get an interview?

F.T. Millburn

 

For larger companies, technology has played a significant role in changing how applicants are selected. The technology, referred to as Applicant Tracking Systems or ATS, is used to screen candidates for qualifications based on matching terminology (key words) on one’s resume relative to the job requirements. It allows the corporate recruiter to see only the candidates that are a match based on the programmed criteria.

Many of the programming criteria for job boards prevent the resume from being viewed by the receiving company if it doesn’t match enough of the job specific criteria. Most of these job boards do not inform you that you have been denied the privilege of being viewed. This is when your network is critical.

If your resume is not getting noticed, then change it. Review job postings and look for consistent key words. Integrate these words into your resume. Using these words is the key to getting through the ATS screen. Most people update their resume by adding their last position. When you begin to look for a job, you need to review your resume for formatting and proper use of terms that will meet the ATS matching criteria. I would suggest looking at your resume with a critical eye. Seek others’ opinions from friends, recruiters or a career coach.

The way to work around the ATS is through your network contacts. These contacts are individuals that care about you and truly want to help you. Having your contact introduce your resume to their company’s recruiter or hiring manager is usually very helpful. Even if they introduce you to someone that knows someone inside can be helpful. Informing your friends and family about companies that you are targeting will help them determine if they can help you. If the introducer is respected and known for delivering value, then the introduced resume, or you, will typically be granted a phone screen and possibly an interview. It is important that you keep your contact informed of your job search status with the potential employer. This allows the introducer to follow up naturally with their inside contact as well.

The question for the hiring organization is to ask if they hiring for a specific position or hiring for potential to help grow their company. What most successful hiring managers, recruiters and HR professionals do is to hire talent based on critical skills, matched values and potential. Any hiring manager who understands this blend when hiring will drive success.

 

About this column:

“Ask the Career Coach” is a column dedicated to those who may be in transition or wrestling with a career dilemma by providing a forum for advice.  

Coming Back to Work After a Break

What’s the best way to present yourself when you decide to re-enter the workforce after a break?

By Lisa Chenofsky Singer
As appeared in “Ask the Career Coach” Column on MillburnPatch.com

 

Dear Career Coach Lisa,

As I prepare to return to the job market after taking a deliberate break for the past four years, I struggle with how to present myself. Through a written resume, social media or in person—what is the best way to make connections?

MS
Short Hills

 

Jumping back into the job market after taking a break or sabbatical can be overwhelming. The market is challenging at present and the approach to connecting has changed significantly with social media and online presence that did not play a prominent role in the past.

Reconnecting with your network from prior work experiences is easier now due to social media. If you lost contact, you can typically find individuals on one of the many social boards. If you are interested in re-connecting with an old company, try connecting through LinkedIn where you can view current employees, new hires, former employees, recent changes and promotions.

Typically, one of the best ways to initiate connections is to begin to let your inner social circle know that you are interested in re-entering the job market. Begin exploratory discussions with them. Ask this inner circle for contacts that may be able to help you connect to selected companies or for opportunities that play into your skills and strengths. As this circle of connections grow, keep looping back to the people who gave you referrals and inform them of your activity and thank them.

When you do not know what you want to do next, try exploring job boards by advanced search and search on key words instead of searching by title. This option will show you listings that would never have surfaced based on title searches. As jobs are shifting and changing with the influence of social media and technology, there are many new job titles that exist today that did not exist in the past.

Exploring career opportunities can be very time consuming so be prepared to enjoy the journey of discovery. Once you identify a few jobs that interest you, explore some social boards and find individuals with these titles and consider conducting an informational interview to learn more about this type of work, what skills are required, what education and certifications are expected and how to break into this area.

Another way to gain knowledge about a career is to follow some subject matter experts on social boards, blogs and ask questions or follow discussions. This can help you learn about new areas and the terminology or buzz words associated with them. Doing research in your local library with a reference librarian can open your eyes to many new possibilities and it is free. You can also return to your alma mater’s career services center for support. Each college and university differs in their offerings, so call and ask which services you may be able to use.

Remember, we spend a significant portion of our time working, so enjoying what you do is a great privilege and one for which you can plan. Speaking with a career coach may be helpful.

page1image28360 page1image28520

About this column:

“Ask the Career Coach” is a column dedicated to those who may be in transition or wrestling with a career dilemma by providing a forum for advice.