Applying for a new job becomes more automated every year. Your resume makes its first impression to a software program known as an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Over the past three years I have written and updated more than 600 resumes. Each year effective resumes change. In 2019, applicant tracking systems continue to become more advanced and more customized for each employer. These programs identify the best candidates for open positions before human eyes scan anyone’s qualifications or employment history.
This article covers the most important sections to include in your resume. Tips and details about how to maximize the score from an applicant tracking system (ATS) are included.
Every resume should begin with demographic information at the top of the page. This header includes your legal name, your current address (may be limited to the city and state) and contact information (must include a phone number and a personal email address). Make this area stronger by including a LinkedIn URL and/or a professional, personal website.
The next four sections are a professional Summary, specific Skills, Employment History, and Education.
The professional Summary is one or two paragraphs with no fewer than four but rarely more than twelve sentences. Phrases in the summary should be pulled directly from the hoped-for job description. The easiest way to convince both an automated scanner and the hiring manager that you are qualified for a position is to match top phrases. You can start by tailoring your professional title to the job description. For example, you might be a “manager”. However, if the hoped-for job description mentions an “Innovative Manager” or a “Visionary Leader”, those are the exact words that you should use, assuming you are confident that you have those qualities.
Many companies no longer accept cover letters and with most online applications a cover letter is optional. Without a cover letter, a greater emphasis has been placed on the Summary to illustrate how you directly match the position. Customize phrases to make them specific to your experience. Consider a general phrase from a job description such as “Visionary leader with experience managing project teams”. Make this phrase paint a clear picture of who you are by adding appropriate adjectives. If…