75% of resumes don't get through the applicant tracking system

Yes, dear readers, I've not yet covered this subject from every angle, it seems! This statistic comes from attendeding a Career Professionals of Canada members' virtual meet-up on the topic of today's resumes.

We discussed the folly of the functional resume and of resume templates, both still in wider use than we would expect today, given that both of these are quite useless when applying to positions in companies that rely on a applicant tracking system (ATS) to parse the many applicants' resumes. 

In case you're not sure what a functional resume is, it's the style with two to four functional areas highlighted (most often I have seen categories such as customer service and communications, and then a more specific-to-the-job category, for example, purchasing or technical knowledge), and then the employer names and dates are listed following these, with no further detail. And a resume template can be one you've found on the internet or one you "borrowed" from a friend's resume.

Both contribute to you scoring a very low mark on the ATS and thus both ensure you are NOT selected for an interview.

An interesting perspective came from CPC's Executive Director, Sharon Graham. Researching the ATS for her upcoming book, Sharon made a statement that I thought pointed to a profound insight. The ATS, she said, is set up to disqualify most applicants. By searching out who has made an effort to investigate the peculiarities of the ATS-friendly resume and also to include key words and phrases, by the act of selection it also disqualifies those who have not made the effort.

I'm not saying this is fair or even makes sense from the job hunter's point of view, but it is what it is. You do have every right, though, to be selected IF you put forth considerable effort, or alternatively, hire a career professional to assist you.

One more point that I want to make: not enough job hunters are aware of the need to navigate the ATS recruitment process. To drive this point I have two stories to share.

I am currently working with a client and I hear the disbelief in his voice and the hesitation of his responses to my lessons on why I wrote his resume the way I did as it relates to the ATS. Apparently he has a relative in HR and I think, perhaps, that this is where the disbelief is originating as not all companies use an ATS.

And finally, one of my colleagues has been working with a client, a company, on a recruitment related project. She was shocked when the client came up with resume templates as one of the aspects related to the project. She had to educate the client on why templates are not only ineffective in today's job hunt, but actually will disqualify the candidate (as per the above insight). The templates were scrapped and the project quickly "retooled" in response.

So, the ignorance of how the ATS works and how it impacts the job search is not only at the individual job hunter level, but also sometimes at the recruitment level!

To read the Forbes article that cites this statistic, go to "How to Get Your Resume Read by an Employer."