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The 5 Minute Secret to Landing A Job Interview

This is the third and final installment in our series of posts on how to keep your resume from falling into oblivion. This series was sparked by a Wall Street Journal infographic that says 25 out of 100 resumes submitted for any job applied to online are read.

What happens to the remaining 75 applications? They remain in the application folder online and aren’t opened because the key words and information in the resumes do not match the job requirements in the applicant tracking system used by the company where you’ve applied.

Most companies use applicant tracking systems — known as ATS for short — to help track applications, keep information on candidates, and share applications with hiring decision makers and interviewers. These ATS systems make the job search process more efficient for employers. They come loaded with features designed to save them time and — as mentioned above — one of these features is the ability for employers to specify key words and experience that is relevant for the job.

If you’re an employer, the ATS makes life easy for you. Because applications are ranked by relevance of keywords, you can review those applications that appear to be most in line with the job first.

If you’re a job seeker, the ATS can make your job search more complicated.  If you don’t have the right words and summary in your resume, you can get overlooked—even if you are actually the most qualified candidate to apply for the position.

Fortunately, there are easy steps you can take to control the situation. Here is a five minute trick to make sure your resume gets read.

1. Find the key words you need to include in your resume.

To do this, copy the job description from the site where you found the job listing. (Note: StartWire has a slew of jobs listed on the site.)

Here’s a listing for a Production Manager job at MTV. We’re using this for a DEMO.

2. Paste the job description into a free tag cloud generator such as TagCrowd.

(Wordle and ToCloud also have this service.)

The results will highlight the keywords that are important for the job description.

3. Modify your resume to include the highlighted keywords.

Do you have a minimum of 70% of the qualifications listed in the job description?

Does your experience match the keywords that are prominent in the tag cloud?

If the answer is yes and yes, add a bulleted summary to start your resume that highlights your fit for the job.

Note: This exercise will not help you if your experience doesn’t line up with the job description. We recommend you apply for jobs that align well with your skills and experience.

Example of a resume summary:

Five years of production experience including multi-camera work and video editing. (Start by summarizing how many years of experience you have.)

Financial management experience with budgeting, process mapping, and forecasting experience. (Next, emphasize a skill you have that is relevant to the job. Here we focus on budgeting and management since they are prominent in our graphic.)

Strong technical skills with demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with staff and equipment vendors across production life cycle from proposals and pilots to live events and final cuts. (Finish up with a summary that directly relates to the subject matter of the job.)

Result: You’ve got a resume summary that shows both the applicant tracking system — and the hiring manager — your fit for the job. This should exponentially increase your chances of landing a job interview!

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