Occasionally, one of my clients may send me an online posting and say "Write me a resume and cover letter for that."
Now, customizing your application to an online posting can be a downright frustrating experience. We’re told to “match key words” and “mirror language,” but which key words? What language? We all know that your resume and cover letter should be adjusted to apply for each unique posting, however, few of us feel confident when actually doing the adjusting.
What I do when writing a targeted resume is run the final copy versus the posting text in JobScan.
JobScan is a resume optimization tool that takes the text of your resume and scans it against a posting of your choosing. It analyzes the post for keywords and important content, then spits out a report on how your resume stacks up.
Why is this important? Because of Applicant Tracking Systems.
ATS technology is how HR managers are able to parse and critically analyze thousands of resumes every day. Whereas hiring managers look for misspelled words, bad grammar, and skill deficits in order to eliminate candidates (a tedious process, no doubt), ATS searches for keyword matches and ranks resumes by the frequency of these matches. If your resume mirrors 4 out of the 10 selected keywords for a job posting, you will be ranked lower in terms of candidacy than a resume that matches 5 out of 10. It's a cold, robotic process, but ATS is an integral part of the 21st-century job hunting process. Understanding ATS and how you can work with it, rather than against it, is crucial to achieving professional success.
That's why JobScan is such a handy tool: it explains, in plain English, what you can do to "avoid the void" and have your application get past that first, brutally exclusive hurdle.
In addition to keyword analysis, JobScan can also identify if the job in question requires an advanced degree or any specific hard/soft skills. It even shows a visual comparison of the skills necessary for the job and how your resume compares.
For what it's worth, I do NOT work for this company nor do I have any association with it whatsoever. It's just a handy tool that has saved my butt many times over and is accessible (and incredibly useful) to anyone looking to polish and hone their resume. Give it a shot!