How to get your résumé read by a human

Matt Krumrie

Like it or not, in today’s job market a software program will read your résumé before a human ever sees it.

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a software system that employers use to handle a variety of recruitment needs, including the uploading and screening of résumés. And if you’ve ever applied for a job through an online system, you have likely submitted your résumé and information through an ATS.

So how do you get your résumé past the screening process and read by a human? Start by tailoring it to each specific job you apply for, says Tim Mayer, director of talent acquisition at Kraus-Anderson Construction Co. in Minneapolis. Do not send in a one-size-fits-all résumé for each job and expect to pass the ATS customized criteria for that job.

How do you do this? Start by spending some time reviewing the job description for key words and themes and include them prominently in your résumé. But don’t just create a bulleted list of key accomplishments, such as an area of expertise, and key word-stuff your résumé. Instead, list key words, backed up with proof of accomplishment and concrete examples of successes.

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