Getting the Most from Resume Scanner

What is Resume Scanner?

When you apply for a job online, there’s a good chance the incoming resumes will be ranked by the employer’s applicant tracking system. The applicant tracking system is software that keeps track of all the applicants, sets appointments, sends emails etc. It’s very efficient for an employer to use this type of software, since the average number of applicants an online job receives is 250.  Rather than read all the resumes, employers can read the top ranked resume, see if it’s someone worth interviewing, then check the next in the list. Usually the candidate is found among the first 20 applicants in the list. It saves the employer a tremendous amount of time.

As a person looking for a new job, your top priority should be getting to the top of that list. If only the top 20 candidates get invited to interviews, over 90% of the people who apply are rejected without their resume even being read! You must get to the top of the list or you’ll never make it to the next step- the job interview.

Resume Optimization

Getting to the top of the list of applicants in the applicant tracking system (ATS) requires an understanding of how ATS software works. It all comes down to the way the ATS ranks resumes. There are dozens of commercially available and open source ATS systems and their ranking algorithms are all different. They all work similarly, however. The question when ranking a resume is how well it matches the requirements for the job. Since the requirements for the job are expressed in the job description, the best way to rank resumes is to compare the resume to the job description.

Applicant tracking systems compare job descriptions to resumes using a keyword matching mechanism. This is similar to the way search engines like Google work. If you go to Google and search for “smartphones,” Google will retrieve the websites which best match “smartphones.” Because a high ranking in Google is so valuable, a science called “search engine optimization” has emerged focused on making a website match the desired keyword. You can imagine what it means to have the top ranked website for “smartphones.”

In the same way companies optimize a website to match a search engine keyword, you need to optimize your resume to match the job description. This is called resume optimization, and it’s essential for success when looking for a job.

Fortunately, you don’t need to become an expert in resume optimization to get results- Resume Scanner does that for you. Paste your resume into one box, paste the job description into the other box and press the scan button. Resume analyzes the job description, identifies the keywords and shows how often they are used and how they are used. It then checks your resume to see how often each of those keywords are used and whether you’ve used them often enough. Resume Scanner also scores your resume.

What Score Do I Need?

We frequently hear the same comment from our customers: “I thought my resume was great, then I scanned it and got a score of 20!” People are shocked when this happens, but it illustrates the key point. Your resume may indeed be great when a person reads it, but if it doesn’t rank well when the software reads it, your resume is inadequate.

Our customers often ask what score they need to get to the top of the rankings. This is a difficult question to answer. In reality, the answer is “you need a higher score than everyone else who applied for the job.” We’ve told the story of Meg who applied for a senior director level position at a major consulting firm. She first applied and was rejected. She learned about Resume Scanner and optimized her resume, then reapplied for the same position. Within one hour she had an interview scheduled. Meg had raised her score from 17 to 60. So, 60 was enough to get in the door. We recommend you optimize your resume to a score of 80. 

What About “Unimportant” Words?

When you see Resume Scanner results, we list every keyword including some that may seem unimportant. For example, the word “it” may appear. That may be meaningless for you, but for people in IT (information technology) it can be crucial. You’ll see some words like this because we review the job description against over 100,000 keywords. The main thing is for you to focus on the keywords used more than once in the job description and be sure you use them in your resume.

Phrases and Balance

Resume Scanner doesn’t just list the keywords, it shows how they have been used in the job description. It’s best for you to use the phrases used in the job description, not just the keyword. Some applicant tracking systems will recognize you match longer phrases and give you higher scores.

When we refer to balance, we’re talking about which keywords are used very frequently and which are used less frequently. The balance of keywords reflects the employer’s priorities. In a very sophisticated ranking system, resumes that don’t simply have the keywords but have the balance as well will rank higher. Don’t just use the keyword once if it’s used a dozen times in the job description, use them more often.

It takes some work to optimize your resume. Fortunately, Resume Scanner makes it easy. If you make the effort you will be much more likely to get job interviews- and get that new job you want.