Resume Writing Philosophy
We Emphasize Quality Above Quantity
Big Sur Resume Service adheres to a resume writing philosophy that places quality over quantity and emphasizes client care over rapid turn-around times. By contrast, many resume writing companies focus on nabbing the highest possible number of clients as possible. These same resume writing companies that focus on high volume as opposed to great service try to make as much money as they can by pressing out as many resumes as they are able within a given amount of time, so these types of companies are forced to woo their clients by bragging about how fast they can deliver new resumes, but haste makes waste.
Another issue to consider is the fact that writing a good resume typically demands completing a series of edits, so having a good resume written is really a process as opposed to a simple purchasing transaction. It is also important to remember that it is rare for a resume that has been written by a professional writer to capture a client’s satisfaction after the first draft; yes professional resume writers have been known to hit home runs on their first submitted drafts, but this seldom happens.
We Write ATS Complaint Resumes
For those who are not familiar with the term ATS, this abbreviation refers to the the words Applicant Tracking System. Knowing something about applicant tracking systems is important at this time because these software applications are now almost always used by hiring managers and human resources departments to screen job applicants. Applicant tracking systems of some kind are now routinely used across countless industries and in every corner of the world, so any good resume has to be written with an applicant tracking system in mind.
ATS systems are commonly applied as a method to screen incoming resumes for compatibility, and these programs also function as tools to narrow down pools of incoming resumes down to short lists of the best potential matches. Hiring managers and human resources departments now essentially apply the screening functions of applicant tracking systems to save themselves the trouble of having to read every incoming resume personally.
Many people now feel that perhaps the practice of using machines to scan pools of incoming resumes is a bit lazy, and many people also feel that the practice of screening applicants with ATS programs is even a bit unethical. The practice of applying applicant tracking systems to incoming resumes could be considered a bit unethical because machines are not very good at catching the nuances in peoples’ resumes, plus machines are notoriously tone-deaf when it comes to understanding human beings in general; however, the practice of using a computer to screen job applicants is now commonplace and wide-spread across of planet, so whether this trend is here to stay, whether it is for the better or for the worse.
The screening criteria that is set for an ATS program varies by the industry, varies by the position, and varies by the factors that a particular hiring manager is seeking; however, the process of selecting the best resumes for an open job id done by leveraging an automated software program that works by checking a given candidate’s resume against a list of keywords that either appear in the job description or appear on that position’s vacancy listing.
As of now, a simple Google search will reveal that there are more than 60 different applicant tracking systems used across countless industries and applied by endless employers, so it is hard to know which particular ATS program will be screening an applicant’s resume. Applicant tracking systems also vary considerably in their quality and screening capabilities; for example, some applicant tracking systems are very rudimentary and others apply the most cutting-edge machine learning and artificial intelligence technology to the process of screening job applicants.
Free and open-source-based applicant tracking systems typically provide very crude and rudimentary applicant screening capabilities and on the other side of the spectrum there are high-end applicant tracking systems that run on secret and propriety operating codes that have very in-depth screening abilities. These same high-end applicant tracking systems are typically offered on quarterly subscriptions that cost the companies who use these applications hundreds of thousands of dollar per year.
Indeed, the quality and capabilities of applicant tracking systems vary considerably, so no matter what sort of blather a resume writing company might proffer, it is actually impossible for anybody to know exactly how an individual resume will perform after it has been submitted for a posted job listing. Additionally, a job listing may have many keywords within it, but it is still hard for anyone to know exactly which criteria a hiring manager has actually loaded into the applicant tracking system for a chosen job. So, all that a professional resume writer can really do to optimize a resume for ATS factors is to carefully check a client’s resume against the keywords written into a job listing, then hope for the best.
Admittedly, learning that is is impossible to know which ATS application might be in use for a given job listing may not be very reassuring for a job seeker. Learning that nobody can truly predict which criteria a hiring manager has loaded into a screening program for a given job listing may also not inspire a whole lot of confidence in process of having a resume professionally written; none the less, having a resume formatted to navigate ATS systems still makes a world of difference, even if the science is not perfect.
How to Write ATS-Compliant Resumes
The best way to design a resume with an applicant tracking system in mind is to compare a client’s resume with a particular job listing by referencing the keywords embedding within that job listing. For example, if the keyword match for a client’s resume is determined to be more than 80% for a given job listing, then this resume could be considered a competitive match for that particular position. Big Sur Resume Service will always try to produce an 80% keyword matching ratio between a client’s resume and all of the jobs that a client has determined to be of interest, so 80% is the magical matching percentile for each and every ATS-compatibility ratings per position.
The first phase in the process of building a resume that is optimized for ATS compatibility involves using propriety software to check that resume against a set of job listings. The next phase of an ATS optimization process involves recording the keywords that this specialized ATS compatibility software has identified as being the most important, then carefully placing them into the next revision of the resume. The process of building an individual ATS-complaint resume typically involves completing several cycles where identified keywords from job listings are inserted, then proceeding to check each newly revised version of the resume for updated compatibility percentage scores.
Lastly, the process of identifying the keywords needed for each job listing, then inserting these keywords into a resume is done to ensure that a score of 80% or better is achieved for each of a client’s job listings of interest; however, not every job listing is asking for exactly the same things, so a professional resume writer must simply do the best they can to ensure that optimal ATS compatibility for a resume has been achieved.
The Human Factor: ATS Compatibility is Not Everything
Undeniably, writing resumes that will score well when examined by ATS software is a crucial factor for success in today’s employment market, yet a good resume writer will still pay attention to older resume writing factors such a readability and good organization. Some resume writing companies may write resumes that are great from the standpoint of beating ATS program scans, but these very specialized resumes are often incoherent and unreadable by people. A great resume cannot just be simply designed to trip-up a computer program and just clock high percentile matches from machines that only cherry-pick and classify selected words and phrases.
Some resume writing outfits just fill entire sections of the resumes they stamp out with key phrases and key words that are simply printed in list formats which use bullet points to separate the words and phrases. An example of a resume section that is often repurposed as a shed to stack keywords is the “SKILLS” section. This strategy of just carpet bombing a resume section with huge lots of buzzwords may help a resume gain more footing with ATS systems; however, a resume must still be readable to hiring managers. These same companies that tilt dump truck loads of keywords into their the resumes also write “SUMMARY” sections that are jam-packed to the rafters with key words and phrases, except these well-worded resume sections are just gibberish from a human perspective. In the end, despite the prevalence of ATS applications, resumes still have to be written with human beings in mind.
Writing resumes that are just designed to breech the castle gates of ATS applications may sound like a sensible strategy for a resume writing company to pursue; however, it is also important to remember that hiring managers and veteran human resource professionals are not stupid people, and these shrewd professionals spend a decent portion of their working days evaluating resumes, and they do this for many years, so thinking that these people can simply be “gamed,” “played,” or hoodwinked by an ATS-friendly resume is just plain foolish.
After viewing resumes that people write for themselves, it is very clear that hiring a professional resume writer is a crucial investment. Regrettably, even a very qualified applicant can easily get ignored by a hiring manager if their resume is poorly written, poorly organized, or if their resume is unfocused; of course, hiring managers are not fools, but making a good presentation to these people is still important.
Indeed, hiring a professional resume writer will boost a person’s chances of gaining an interview by 40%, even if the process of writing a resume is not perfect, so it is foolish not to hire a good resume writer. Hiring a professional to write a resume will most definitely improve a person’s chances of getting an interview, make no mistake about that; however, it is foolish to think that just having a resume that is designed to slide past an ATS screening process will automatically impress a hiring manager. Yes, a proper resume must be written with ATS in mind and optimized for ATS applications to the fullest extent, yet a winning resume must also be well written and visually attractive.
Besides being formatted with ATS scanning in mind, a good resume will also present measurable facts, avoid using passive voice, and highlight an applicant’s achievements in ways that make that person shine. As mentioned earlier, it is foolish to think that hiring managers can simply be played, yet if a hiring manager reads a well-written resume that highlights the applicant’s achievements and backs these successes with relevant and measurable data, then this resume will certainly improve that applicants chances of gaining an interview.