There are a lot of fear-mongering articles out there designed to scare you into thinking the hiring system is rigged. While it is imperfect, the system is there to help both sides of the coin succeed in new roles.
One of the most common myths I see as a former recruiter is this: “The applicant tracking system (ATS) is out to get you” or some other version of that line. Because of this stereotype, many candidates believe that the ATS is a “black hole” that can suck your resume into the void, and send your dreams of being hired down the drain. But I’ll tell you now, that is simply not true!
In this piece, I will break down this myth and a few others that do not serve you in your job search.
As mentioned before, this is false. The ATS is actually there to help you and the recruiter because it helps them organize all the applications and categorize data into specific buckets. This tool is meant to spotlight the resumes that are tailored for the role! So if you did that already before you applied, you are going to stand out. If you help the ATS, it’s going to help you.
At the end of it all, the ATS is just a tool for recruiters to make their jobs easier and is not a Great Wall between you and your dreams.
Much like anything else in life, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for resumes. Different recruiters, and different job posts, have specifications that a single resume cannot cover all at once. The best practice here is to create a base resume with all the highlights of your work experience. When you’ve made your base as comprehensive as can be, you then adjust and tweak your resume for each role.
Can you get hired by applying to hundreds of different roles with the same resume? Maybe, but it’s so much more effective when you hone in on what kind of role you want and then personalize it as much as possible.
Maybe it does not apply to all companies, but I can tell you from my recruitment experience, cover letters are rarely ever read. This is good news for most of us as cover letters are never fun to write and most times feel forced and awkward. So, instead of drafting a generic cover letter, take that extra time to research the company, tailor your resume for the role, and start connecting with people who work there to make a strong first impression. With that said, if you insist on writing a cover letter to show off your chops, I’ve got you covered with our free template here.
Some like it when you reach out directly, and some don’t. As for me, I loved it when candidates took the initiative and told me why they were a great fit.
Why? Because they were essentially doing my job for me! As a recruiter, our main responsibility is finding different hiring manager options. Anytime I can get someone to already do that for me, that is a win!
Now, with that said, this does not mean that I want you to go on and start begging to be hired. I encourage you to lead with messages showcasing your role value. If you strike up a good conversation in the DMs, it may even lead to a phone call or first-round interview.
I hope these explanations helped you learn the truth behind these myths. It’s natural to have some fear and worries when you are on the job search, but remember that the system is designed to help you. Do your part to do the little things and stand out to land that role you deserve!
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