When Jobscan CEO and founder James Hu was applying for tech jobs a few years ago, he realised there was a wall between his résumé and actual human beings: applicant tracking systems (ATS). This recruitment software often weeds out candidates based on keywords in their applications.
“So I started optimising my résumé for what recruiters might search for,” he told Business Insider in an email. “But it would take me an hour to identify the top keywords and tailor each résumé.”
To save other job hunters the drudgery, in 2013, he created Jobscan. The online service scans résumés and compares them with the keywords in specific job description.
Today, Jobscan has a team of ten employees and has scanned 2 million résumés to date. Users get five free scans — or 25, if you’re long-term unemployed or in a financially dire situation. The site is also familiar with the top six ATS on the market, which cover 80% of all Fortune 500 companies, including Amazon, Deloitte, Snapchat, and Credit Suisse.
Sounds interesting, but what guidance can it really give? I plugged my résumé into the scanner against my current job here at Business Insider. Recruiters and hiring managers say that job-hunters should customise their résumés to every job they apply for, and after scanning my résumé, I can see why.
Next, I uploaded the description text and my résumé into the scanner, pressed scan, and waited for my results...
To give you a sense, an 80% match tends to indicate a pretty good fit. I guess I basically snuck into Business Insider.
In all honesty, though, I was hired as a Careers intern before I became a reporter. By the time the company decided to make me an offer, it had seen about six months of my work.
So it's important to remember that résumés aren't always king. In fact, a number of CEOs and organisations eschew résumés altogether, preferring to look at work performance over CVs. However, that doesn't help you get through the preliminary sorting of an ATS.
When you look at the actual job description, it mentions a bunch of different skills that I should have included, such as social media and résumé writing.
Keywords aren't everything. You could be completely qualified for a job and not have a keyword-optimal résumé (I hope). However, if you're looking to get your foot in the door somewhere, it really helps to make sure that you're getting through the company's ATS.
If all else fails, Jobscan also helpfully provides a list of recommendations for jobs that do match up with your résumé.
'You can improve your match rate by adding the missing keywords found from the scan, indicated by red 'x' in your scan report,' Hu says. 'You can also increase your match rate by matching your job title. This essentially means listing the required skills the job is asking for in case recruiters search for it. Even from a hiring managers' perspective, the recruiters or hiring managers will likely glance to see if you possess the relevant skills.'
So, what did I learn from scanning my CV? Well, it's really important to make certain you're tailoring your résumé to specific roles.
That doesn't mean just switching around some bullet points and tweaking the language a bit. It means lacing your résumé with keywords from the job description itself. Jobscan can help you identify some of those keywords, and thus optimise your résumé.
It's worthwhile, if it helps your application to break through the ATS and end up in front of an actual human being. Once you're there, it's up to you.
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