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Ace Resume Building: Find Your Ideal Role

Resume Building

August 4, 2023

Switching careers and diving headfirst into the job market can be a daunting task, even for the most qualified professionals. The thrill of opportunity can be quickly followed by disappointment as weeks roll by without any response. This is a predicament all too familiar for many job seekers — an impressive resume that somehow doesn't catch the employer's attention. We live in an automated world where human resources personnel are swamped with hundreds, if not thousands, of applications for a single role. Often, companies resort to using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) for pre-screening applicants. With the growing popularity of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems, many employers are integrating AI with ATSs to make the screening process more efficient.

As job seekers, we're advised to tailor our resumes to both human eyes and machine algorithms. However, failing to pass the ATS's scrutiny could significantly impact your chances of getting an interview.

Let's explore some key strategies to ensure your resume passes the ATS test and catches the attention of recruiters.

ATS Compatibility

One valuable tool for job seekers is LinkedIn Jobs, which allows you to run your resume through its own ATS. LinkedIn, a global leader among professional networks, collaborates with numerous companies for job listings and hosting professional profiles. Their ATS is well-versed in various resumes, job descriptions, qualifications and traits of excellent candidates.

When you run your resume through LinkedIn's ATS, you can uncover potential errors or inconsistencies that you might not have noticed before. These might include incorrectly recorded job dates, improperly categorized skills or even a jumbled education and credentials section. Gaining this insight can provide a clear picture of what potential employers see when they review your resume through their ATS (or if they see it at all).

Adjusting your resume according to LinkedIn's guidelines may sacrifice some aesthetic elements, but the new ATS-friendly format will be more appealing to recruiters. The result is often immediate and impressive, with interview invitations following within days of submission.

Now, let's dive into designing your ATS-compatible resume:

1. Personal and Contact Information

Your personal and contact details form the foundation of your resume. This section should encompass your full name, contact number, professional email address and hyperlinks to relevant professional online profiles (such as LinkedIn). It's essential to position this information prominently at the top of your resume. This will ensure recruiters can effortlessly reach out to you without having to dig through the document or search across the web.

2. Career Overview

Consider your career overview as a succinct trailer to your professional movie. This should capture:

  • Professional Tenure: Clearly describe your overall experience, differentiating between total experience and experience specific to the role you're targeting.
  • Key Skills: Underline the skills that align with the requirements of the job you're applying for, demonstrating you’re the right fit for the role.
  • Major Achievements: Spotlight significant milestones in your career that indicate your potential for future success.

Limit yourself to a maximum of two to three bullet points. Use powerful action verbs like "designed," "spearheaded," "innovated" or "strategized" to further showcase your accomplishments. This is also the section you want to use keywords related to the role you’re applying for.

3. Employment History

The employment history section is the narrative of your professional path and should depict the following:

  • Roles and Responsibilities: Pinpoint pivotal responsibilities and skills that echo the job description of the role you're seeking.
  • Contributions and Results: Highlight tangible impacts you've made, emphasizing the measurable results of your efforts.
  • Recognitions and Accolades: List any awards or recognition received that further validate your professional competence.

Again, limit each job role to three or four bullet points. Leverage action verbs, precise figures and job-specific keywords to accentuate your achievements.

4. Academic Background

The academic background section should succinctly delineate your formal education journey. Detail your educational institutions, duration of study, degrees attained, and any academic distinctions conferred. While including your GPA is discretionary, it's advisable to mention it if it's significantly high (usually 3.8 or above) and relevant to the job or industry.

5. Proficiencies

This section is your showcase for relevant professional proficiencies, technologies or software you’ve used. Avoid creating long, rambling lists or using generic statements. Instead, focus on highlighting concrete skills not previously mentioned in your work history, particularly those that enhance your suitability for the role in question. It’s also important to mention this is not an area to repeat skills you’ve already mentioned in your work history or career overview.

A well-structured resume is your key to attracting the attention of recruiters and prospective employers. By following these guidelines, you can confidently step onto the job-seeking world, with your professional story in a manner both engaging to human recruiters and friendly to ATS systems.

The pathway to your ideal career lies open before you, and it's up to you to step forward and seize it. With diligence, patience and a well-crafted resume, your professional aspirations are within reach!

Networking and community engagement also play vital roles in this journey. Local organizations like The Greater Des Moines Partnership or Young Professional Connection (YPC) can significantly help your growth and provide you with a platform to connect with like-minded professionals.

Young Professionals Connection (YPC) aims to attract and retain young professionals in Greater Des Moines (DSM) by connecting emerging leaders to each other and to the community through social, civic, charitable and professional development endeavors. Learn how you can get involved.

Samuel Malkasian

Samuel Malkasian is a Marketing Consultant with DSM.Studio and Marketing Chair for the Young Professionals Connection (YPC), an initiative of the Greater Des Moines Partnership.