The Job Search, The Resume

Applicant Tracking Systems, ATS

When applying for a position – when you hit send where are your resume and cover letter really going? Most likely, its being filter through an Applicant Tracking System, ATS, before it ever reaches the desk of a hiring manager and/or recruiter.

It use to be that only Fortune 500 companies used ATS to pre-filter resumes and automate the end-to-end hiring process. However, as technology has evolved, such software is now available to corporations and recruiting firms of all sizes. It is now commonplace for corporations to turn to and rely on ATS software to handle everything from posting a job to selecting the ideal candidate.

What does this mean for today’s job seeker? It means that you when you submit your resume, in most cases it is not going directly to a hiring manager and/or recruiter. Instead, it first moves through an ATS, a software that is designed to manage the hiring process.

An ATS scans submitted resumes and cover letters for keywords/key phrases (skills, job positions) and filters (location and education). Similiar to a search engine, the resumes and cover letters that match the keywords and filters are classified as “qualified” candidates and are then sent to the recruiter or hiring manager.

A high-level understanding of how ATS work, further emphasizes the power and importance customizing your resume to the position that you are applying for.

(Doyle, 2018) ATS reject an estimated 70 percent or more of the resumes submitted, either because the documents don’t reflect the desired qualifications or are formatted in a way that the system can’t digest the information.

Take a look at your resume, and consider the following:

  • Does your resume support/ compliment the position you are applying for?
  • Is the font that you selected clear? Have used clear fonts such as Arial, Courier, or Times New Roman. Remember, ATS is a software and may not be able to “read” fonts that are “fancy”
  • Did you use any logos?
    • If your resume has logos, symbols, shading and/or pictures, consider removing them. Again, there is a high probability that your resume will first be scanned by an ATS which could have trouble reading the extra touches, and ultimately reject your resumé and cover letter.
  • Did you spell check your work? Spelling errors are just that, errors–which will not be understood or literally read by ATS.


Doyle, A. (2018, February 02). How To Get Your Resume Past the Applicant Tracking System. Retrieved March 27, 2018, from

Enter your email to subscribe to notifications from this site

The Job Search, The Resume

What Happens When Confetti Is Tucked in With a Resumé?

(Neil, 2004) As the story goes, a law student, eager to land employment at a firm went the extra mile of adding confetti in the envelope of their resumé and cover letter. The eye-catching tactic was effective in grabbing the attention of at least one law firm. The firm’s response, however, was that they cut the resumé and cover letter into small pieces and mailed it back to the applicant.

(Neil, 2004) It is no secret that employers are flooded with resumés. To combat this, some applicants are tempted to tinker with the traditional resumé and try their hand at making “cute attempts” to distinguish themselves, i.e. “pizza boxes with resumés inside, resumés in the form of a court pleading or rapplications.

Rarely, do such “cute attempts” actually get the intended reaction/response that lead to the applicant landing the position. Instead, applicants should stand out by putting their creative energy into developing a smart and comprehensive resumé — that is well-organized, easy to read–and doesn’t contain spelling errors.

…and save the pizza, raps, and confetti until after you land the job.


Frith, Beckett. “10 interview turn-offs that drive recruiters away”. Executive Grapevine International Ltd. Written: 13MAR2018; Retrieved 29MAR2018

Neil, Martha. “LOOKING SHARP: What Happens When Confetti Is Tucked in With a Resumé.” ABA Journal, vol. 90, no. 1, 2004, pp. 55–55., .

Enter your email to subscribe to notifications from this site

The Job Search

Spotting Job Scams

As a job-seeker, you have the ability to create and upload your resumé and make yourself available to thousands of employers. You can also search and apply for job openings in your desired location through user-friendly online-job boards and social media apps.  While the search for new opportunities has gotten easier for both the job-seeker and the employer – there is a third party that is interested in taking advantage of your career search, job scammers.

You do not necessarily have to be in the job market to receive email solicitations from job scammers. Your employment history and contact information are already out there, either because you are or were looking for a job via an online job board. Job scammers have access to your information and they reach out in hopes that you, the job seeker, is anxious to land a new position – and jump on the opportunity to work with them.

See the email below for an example of a real email solicitation that I received in March 2018. This is a real call to action to apply for a position that I did not previously apply for or inquire about. Clearly, they grabbed my information from somewhere, and decided to give it a try!

Note the grammatical errors and overall vagueness in the job description. The actual position/title is a series of numbers and the email address, which I blocked out, does not connect to any business and appears to be a private account. These are all key indicators that this job posting is a scam. If you receive a similar email, block the address and delete it. Save yourself the heart-ache.

Follow the youtube link ( to check out the Federal Trade Commission’s warning about spotting job scams and what to do if you feel like you have been a victim of a scam.

Suggested Reading:

Frith, Beckett. Accusations against Rec Agency’s ‘Fake Job Ad’ Not Upheld. 29 Mar. 2018, Accessed 29 Mar. 2018.

Enter your email to subscribe to notifications from this site

The Job Search

Social Recruiting

(Salm, 2017) According to a 2017 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring. The term for this is called social recruiting, and  3 in 10 employers are equipt with an employee dedicated solely to getting the scoop on your online persona.

(Salm, 2017) The content found on social media greatly influences employers decisions during the hiring process. When reviewing candidates social media profiles, employers are looking for key signs/phrases to help determine if you would be a good hire.

  • 61% look for information that supports their qualifications for the job
  • 50% look to see if the candidate has a professional online persona at all
  • 37% look to see what other people are posting about the candidate
  • 24% look for any reason at all not to hire a candidate

Don’t risk losing out on a job because of your social media accounts. Be proactive. Start by reviewing your privacy settings and be sure that your photos and comments are only able to be viewed by your friends. Delete comments or postings that are inappropriate and photos that are not favorable. (Doyle, 2017) Below are tips to help you clean up your social media accounts.

What Employers Shouldn’t See on Facebook

  • Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your current employer or a prospective employer to see.
  • Avoid any comments that could be interpreted as racist, sexist or discriminatory in any way.
  • Remove or untag photos of you that show you in an unfavorable light. If you prefer not to, then be sure to carefully manage your album privacy settings. These control which people can see which of your albums.
  • Look at your wall. Remove comments from your friends that seem distasteful.
    Look at the apps on your profile. Does their purpose portray you well? There are more than a few apps that may not be the best ones to have on your page when you’re looking to get a job.
  • What groups are you a member of? If you belong to “It’s 5 am, I’m drunk, and on Facebook” or any similar groups, you probably want to leave them.

Facebook Privacy Settings for Job Seekers

  • Make sure only friends can see your photos.
  • Make sure only friends can see your religious and political views.
  • Make sure only friends can see your posts.
  • With the privacy settings, you are given an opportunity to preview your site, a feature that lets you see what the outside world sees when they access your Facebook page.

In The News:

Belson, K. (2018, March 25). How an Instagram Post Led to an N.F.L. Cheerleader’s Discrimination Case. The New York Times. Retrieved March 26, 2018, from

Stevens, J. (2018, January 31). 12 Privacy Mistakes that Can Cost You Your Job in 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2018, from


Brenoff, A. (2018, March 19). What You Need To Know About Deleting Your Facebook Account. Retrieved March 20, 2018, from

Doyle, A. (2017, August 29). Retrieved March 20, 2018, from

Salm, L. (2017, June 15). 70% of employers are snooping candidates’ social media profiles. Retrieved March 20, 2018, from

Enter your email to subscribe to notifications from this site

The Job Search

Posted Job vs. Actual Job: Managing the Disconnect

It’s not uncommon that job descriptions can sometimes be…misleading.

You can read the job description and the company’s website a hundred times before applying for a job— and then re-read it a hundred more times before the interview – and still discover, during the interview, that perhaps deception took place. Continue reading “Posted Job vs. Actual Job: Managing the Disconnect”