JEAN'S BLOG. Best & Next Practices in: Executive Resumes, Personal Branding & Executive Job Search

What If You Don't Meet ALL the Job Requirements? 3 Workarounds

Posted by Jean Cummings

Dec 30, 2014 2:29:04 PM

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Just about every job seeker I speak with says, "I've found some jobs I'd be a good fit for, but I don't meet all the job requirements, particularly the technical job requirements. Is it worth it to apply?"

Almost all my IT job seeker clients have many areas of technical proficiency and are “quick studies” when it comes to learning new software packages. They often feel that, even if they don’t meet the exact requirements for the position, they could get up to speed quickly and do a great job if they were hired. Is this you?

Here’s one way to look at it. First, it's important to realize that part of what the employer is doing in listing very specific technologies is trying to cut down on the number of resumes they have to review. ATS (applicant tracking systems) will not retrieve resumes that lack the keywords or a given percentage of the keywords specified by the hiring authority (HA). And there are probably enough resumes out there that do have all the key skills and keywords for the HA to review.

But you and I know that keywords are not the sole determinant of who makes a good hire.

If you have experience with technologies that are in the same class as the required ones and are confident you could get up to speed quickly on the new specified in the ad, here are a few ideas.  The task is to get the key skills and keywords on the resume that you lack in direct experience while at the same time being truthful in what you say.

Let’s take an example. What if someone has experience with Oracle ERP but not SAP, and the job calls for SAP experience? You can try one of these 3 techniques so that you can include the “SAP” keyword in your resume:

  1. You can say, but only once: “Operate in an Oracle ERP environment similar to SAP” or “Proficient in Oracle ERP, one of the top 2 enterprise-level ERPs along with SAP."

 

  1. Or, in a keyword list at the end of your resume, you can list the technologies or skills you are really experienced in, saying: “Power User: Oracle ERP, etc.” Then, include text that reads: “Working familiarity with other ERPs such as SAP and Epicore” or “Knowledge base also includes: SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Epicor.” ONLY DO THIS if you have taken the time to become familiar with the similarities and differences of the packages, so that you do indeed have general familiarity with the software, SAP in this instance. You will need to get up to speed on SAP if you get an interview anyway.

 

  1. Or, use a keyword list at the end titled: “Other relevant keywords: SAP, etc.” This isn’t as good a solution, but if you’ve done some SAP research, it’s not false.

You can do something similar in the situation where you have experience with SAP financial applications but not the required SAP HRMS. Or in situations with other technologies.

Although the three techniques above aren’t perfect, they are truthful and will give your resume a chance to make it through the ATS screen so you can be considered for an interview. Not everyone will agree that these methods should be used to incorporate keywords and key skills. But I think it’s fair, given that the potential employer may be really missing out by not hearing about YOU!

 Jean Cummings

 

 

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Topics: IT resumes, resumes, keywords, Job Requirements,, High Tech Resumes,, ATS systems

Is Your Resume at Risk? ATS Pitfalls to Avoid

Posted by Jean Cummings

Dec 1, 2011 11:28:00 AM

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I spent an enlightening hour attending a webinar offered by Jonathan Ciampi, a former executive at an ATS (applicant tracking system) company. He has started a new business, Preptel, to help job seekers increase their odds of success. He talked about how ATS works and implications for your resume.

Putting his input together with other information about ATS, I've compiled the most important things to avoid in order to optimize your resume for search.

1. Format: Do not submit a highly formatted resume electronically. Stick to a simple format or save your highly formatted resume as a .txt (ASCII) file. Most ATS will scramble tables, graphs, and graphics, defeating your purpose in presenting them. Take your beautiful, creative resume to the interview.

2. Keywords: Don't assume that it is enough to include the common keywords for your position, level, function, and industry or the ones in a job posting! Many ATS will identify as keywords the uncommon, unique-to-the-job-posting words or phrases in the job ad. This practice cuts down dramatically on the number of resumes retrieved for consideration by the hiring authority or recruiter.

3. Headings: Most ATS will only recognize the common headings: Work Experience or Professional Experience, Education, and sometimes Professional Summary. Eliminate creative headings such as "Career Highlights." 

4. Sections: Extra sections - that is, those that don't have the common titles listed in #3 - won't be stored. So if you have information essential to your application, such as certifications, community activities, publications etc., I suggest you include it under the Education heading.

5. Contact Information: Leave it out of the Header and Footer sections. Put it at the top of page one. And do include both home and mobile phone numbers if you have them.

6. Process: Don't paste your resume into a field online. Rather, upload it if given the opportunity. Chances are better that the formatting will remain intact with this method.

7. Acronyms & Abbreviations: Don't rely on acronyms alone. Include the full language. For instance, don't use USPs for "unique selling points." ATS should process common acronyms correctly, such as BA, MA, and MBA, but may not process other tech and business acronyms right.

8. Keyword Use: Newer ATS recognizes keywords in proper context within a sentence or word group. Don't rely solely on a keyword list. Let the job ad be your guide about which keywords to use in context. You may still want to provide a keyword list at the end of your resume under "Education" to cover the bases.

9. Source: Don't neglect to indicate where you heard about the job. ATS tracks sources and ranks some more highly than others, such as employee referrals over the big job boards.

10. Job Description: Don't forget that the ATS software will be searching for the descriptions of your jobs. Many people have been leaving that out in favor of just achievements. Time to put them back in!

If you are like a lot of people, you probably wish that the resume you worked so hard on to make visually attractive and easy to grasp would be seen on the first pass. Unfortunately, it isn't even seen on the second pass. The resume you submit to most large companies and many small-to-mid-sized ones gets mined for data that then populates fields on a form that the HR employee or recruiter sees (not your resume). Your resume may in fact only be seen at the time of an interview.

One further thought on length. If you need to go longer to adequately communicate what you've done and integrate keywords into context, go ahead. The software doesn't care!

 

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Topics: executive resumes, ATS, applicant tracking software, resume, resumes, IT executive resume, keywords

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