Inundated with too many job applications to handle, companies of all sizes are routinely turning to the ATS–the Applicant Tracking system–for help. Frustrating as it is for the job seeker, this ATS has become one of several strategies companies use to electronically and quickly screen resumes for open positions. So the savvy job seeker today must understand the ATS and then design a resume that can be as ATS proof as possible– to have a fighting chance of nabbing one of the coveted job interviews. And maybe the job.
An ATS is not inherently bad, though, as our keynote speaker Jackie Schierenberg explained to attendees. But last year Dignity Health reviewed over 550,000 resumes, so they regularly use the ATS. She came to Scottsdale Career Connectors to give job seekers tips for getting noticed during the job hunt—including getting past the ATS screening. Working for Dignity Health for 14 years, and in Talent Acquisition for over 20 years, Jackie leads her current team of 10 to fill both those hard-to-fill positions as well as leadership positions. Her team scours the internet in search of talent. The ATS has become a very important tool.
Tips for Getting that Job Interview, including Surviving the ATS “Cut”
- Leave out what used to be called the “objective” section on a resume. Instead, spend time describing how you add value to the company. Use active verbs.
- The Skills section is THE most important section from the standpoint of the ATS.
- Do your homework. Create your resume carefully. For example, find out if the company you’re targeting uses the term “nurse” or “RN” so the ATS system understands you. Make sure you’re using the recent lingo of the industry–or of that company in particular.
- Read the minimum requirements and then make sure you use key words on your resume to describe–in those terms where possible– your qualifications.
- Font type— Don’t get fancy or the ATS might not recognize what you’re saying. Same with bullets.
- Sometimes ATS can’t read PDF files so consider submitting just a regular MS Word file.
- Remember– Recruiters can specifically target the experience section. It’s Jackie’s favorite place to search. So craft this section carefully.
Q & A with Jackie and Scottsdale Career Connectors Attendees
- As a recruiter, she’s paid to be on the phone, so she advises–be bold–call recruiters and hiring managers. Jackie said she will take your call even if it’s only five minutes and at least give some advice. As part of your homework, find hiring managers via linked in and then google to find their phone numbers.
- Cover letters can be great, but integrate them into one document that includes the letter and the resume. This forces the reader to look at the cover letter. It’s not reviewed like a resume, but if there’s something compelling that’s not in your resume, then include it in your letter. As a recruiter, Jackie says she reads very few cover letters. But there are always exceptions. Her husband included a cover letter to explain why he went into architecture. I believe he got both the interview and the job.
- Dignity Health uses an ATS that can search the resume, the attachments, and experience sections.
- The ATS system looks for specific “hard” job skills. But not soft skills. The company will figure out your soft skills in the interview.
- Number of pages in a resume. Just be sure your experience on the resume is recent or relevant. She doesn’t believe in a limiting one-pager resume. Instead, she suggests you include enough to get the point across.
- Address versus no address on the resume. She sees many resumes without addresses. She personally doesn’t include an address on her resume, but her cell phone indicates where she lives anyway. With pre-screening questions, distance from work is often revealed; in nursing, for example, at times a nurse might be required to come to the hospital within 30 minutes after being called. So location becomes important.
- Dignity doesn’t use a personality test as part of the application. That tended to bog down the application process for them. But Dignity relies heavily on the behavioral interview instead.
- In some states, employers are no longer allowed to ask what salary you currently make. But they can ask what your salary expectations are. That’s different than “What are you making?” She reminds us of the well-known phrase that “The one who talks money first, loses.” But as a candidate you can answer by asking the question, “What salary do you feel is commensurate with my skills and experience?”
Jackie tells us the company she works for, Dignity Health, doesn’t use robots—yet. But they use the ATS. And as they say, ATSs are definitely trending now. Jackie advises job seekers to be prepared and realize ATS systems are being used by many companies of all sizes. She recommends you design your resume with the ATS in mind so you’ll be able to compete for that dream job.
Bank of the West
Doug Deyo, Corporate Recruiter
Bank of the West has a location in Tempe starting in October of 2017, but employs 10,500 team members across 23 states, servicing over two million customers. Open positions span a variety of areas including managers and analysts, customer service, Admin/Human Resources, accounting, IT, and loan officers.
The company prides itself on a diverse culture, encouraging team members to share their voice/opinion to help advance the organization. The company offers several benefits including complete medical, tuition reimbursement, generous paid time off, company holidays, and discounted banking rates.
For more information on the company or to apply, visit their website.
IMPACT Payments Recruiting
Marc Badalucco, Managing Partner
IMPACT Payments Recruiting has been around since 2000, focusing exclusively on the payment and cards industries worldwide. They specialize in working with senior to executive-level roles, both on a permanent and contract basis. They employ 15 in-house employees across the U.S., with more than 130 contract employees in Arizona.
IMPACT works within every area including product, sales, marketing, compliance, IT, and operations. Many benefits to working with IMPACT include the company working closely with you throughout the entire process including resume prep, interviewing, and salary negotiations. IMPACT has many contacts in place with companies in the Valley, and those offering remote work.
Current openings include VP of Technology, Account Manager, Sr. Web Developer, Sr. Risk and Credit Specialist, Director of Underwriting, Sr. Director of Risk, Net Developer, Data Scientist, Sr. QA Automation Engineer, and Technical Architect.
For more information or to contact them, visit their website. Send your resume and one of their executive recruiters will contact you.
Nate Smith, Senior LSP Recruiter
Allstate offers a variety of insurance products throughout the United States and appears #84 on the Fortune 500 list. The company has over 10,000 Alllstate Agency owners. The company always seeks employees in information technology, HR, product, claims and sales management, plus exclusive financial specialists, agency owners, and licensed sales producers.
Advantages to owning your own Allstate Agency include no franchise fee (though there is a startup investment) and the ability to leave the business to heirs. Because Allstate is a national brand, agency owners benefit from the big marketing plan which gives credibility to their individual offices. For anyone who has no insurance experience, Allstate will help prepare owners for their careers–including licensing.
Allstate also offers a Military Program for veterans. Click here for more information.
For more information on all other positions, or becoming an Allstate licensed sales professional, visit their website.
John Bernard, Director of Business
Woz U was founded October 17, 2017 by one of Apple’s founders, Steve Wozniak. Woz U seeks to bring opportunities in the technology field to the masses, provide quality education to their students, launch students into a technology field, create a community of developers who help one another during the program and beyond, and offer lifetime support to each of their students.
John showed a video showing the success story of a Phoenix technology student who became homeless during his course of study, received assistance from the school, and went on to accept a great job as soon as he completed the Woz U program.
For more information, visit their website.
Executive Director of Career Connectors Jessica Pierce closed the formal part of the meeting and thanked the host, Highlands Church of Scottsdale; guests including keynote speaker and hiring companies; and volunteers. She then invited attendees to take advantage of the breakout sessions: meeting with hiring companies and training resources, getting advice from resume writers and LinkedIn coaches, and receiving free professional headshots from the professional photographer on site.
The next event for the Scottsdale location will be held Thursday, August 16, 2018, at 9 AM.
For a complete list of events along with times, locations, and speakers, see the information to the right of this blog. Or go to the events’ section of this website.