Black School of Business: Applicant Tracking System
All right, so ATS is "Applicant Tracking System." OK, so this is a software program that – let's see here - a software program that HR uses. So, Human Resources uses this software program. More and more and more companies are using the program.
Why would they use it? It's so that recruiters can get through a large amount of resumes that they receive. OK, so it's to organize that information. What the applicant tracking system does is to scan your resume and then transcribe it, OK? So, it's all - every resume that's transcribed is going to look the same, OK? In my research, I found that 70% of resumes do not make it past ATS, and in some cases, it's going to be a little bit higher than that. So, it's really important to understand and know what this program is looking for, right? So, with more and more companies using this and scanning your resume, there's a few key factors to consider.
Now, if you are sending your resume, you're attaching it as a document to an email, then you can - you don't have to really worry so much about an applicant tracking system. Anytime you are uploading your resume to a website, you want to consider ATS first. So, what I recommend is having an ATS-friendly resume, which you can use for any application. The application that you submit, that has your resume on it, needs to be easily scanned, OK? When you're thinking about how to format your resume and how these systems work, they work a lot like any HR manager who's going to be reviewing your resume.
So they're going to scan from top to bottom and from left to right. OK, so that's a very important key element. Don't use a template, OK? So, I had a student in my office the other day who had used a template from LinkedIn, and you would certainly think that a template that came from LinkedIn would be appropriate.
But it had a lot of white space, huge font, and that's not what you want, OK? Think boring, you wanted it boring in regards to format only, but you want it to be able to be scanned. And you want to use the same type of a format that you would if you were showing a recruiter or uploading it. So, it needs to be easily scanned, and it needs to be understood. So, there's advantages and disadvantages, OK? So if you are applying to a company, no longer can you just like, apply, apply, apply (and) use the same resume for every company, (or) even use the same necessarily the same format for every company.
So, recruiters are looking for individuals that can tie themselves, their abilities, their knowledge to the role and to the company, OK? So, recruiters are going to put a lot of energy and time into this, into an intern. And their sole goal in most cases is to convert to full-time positions, OK? So, they want to make sure that when they are hiring someone, it's the right individual. The HR, Human Resources - their sole job is to find you, OK. Their sole job is to hire and on-board successful hires. And so, they take a lot of time and a lot of energy in this process of recruitment.
They are also the ones - the HR through working with Department managers - they are the ones that program that algorithm that ATS is looking for, OK? So, I'm going to show you an example of some postings, and we're going to go through those a little bit. But, you want to make sure that whatever is in your resume is linked to those postings - that job posting. They are looking for individuals that have done their due diligence, and through that research, through that networking, they know that they are very excited to work in that company and for that company, OK? An example would be Erie Insurance, a local company, excellent company.
A lot of interns, a lot of students, a lot of individuals apply to Erie Insurance, OK? So, a lot of resumes go through HR. You need to not only research the company on the website but also you need to be on LinkedIn. You need to be following these companies. You need to know what the latest press releases are for Erie insurance. That's what's going to get you noticed, OK? So, you need to know what the culture is and that type of thing.
Networking becomes crucial to developing a resume that's going to get through ATS and then be noticed by that recruiter. All right, so this is an actual job posting that I took off of Nittany Lion Careers. And Nittany Lion Careers is the platform that employers use that want Penn State students. So just a little bit about Nittany Lion Careers - if we have time, I can show you more about Nittany Lion Careers later on, but post the postings that are on there, change daily, OK? So, it is not unusual to have a company that posts ongoing, and so they use, sometimes, the same posting over and over again. So, you want to make sure that you are really researching that posting, but that is not enough.
Again, you've got to -- if it's a company that you're interested in -- you've got to go online and research further. OK, so these are the requirements - this is not obviously the whole posting, but these are the requirements. OK, so you might have something that says requirements requested. If it is stated as these are the requirements, then that's what they're looking for. So, this is a college student with a major in marketing, communications, or public relations. Remember what I said about scanning top to bottom, left to right.
That's why on your resume, you're always, always going to have, as long as you are a student, you're always going to have your education at the top of your resume. Even if you had an internship, you want your education at the top of the resume. The recruiter (and) the ATF needs to have that information scanned and transferred at the very top of the page, OK? The HR recruiter should not have to hunt for any information. So, when you are constructing your resume, keep that in mind with ATS as well, OK? So, the ATS - you want to make sure that whatever is most important is at the very top of your resume.
And you want to spell out that major. So, Bachelor of Science in Marketing, Bachelor of Arts in Communication, whatever that looks like and that needs to be at the very top along with your institution, OK? If I was reading this and I'm thinking about that public relations certificate, I'm going to definitely put that on my resume. So, as you're looking at the posting and thinking about your resume, think of how you can get those keywords on the resume and also how you can get those keywords in the resume, but multiple times, OK? Marketing communications and public relations. I'm gonna - if I don't have an internship, my next section is going to be maybe marketing projects. Again, you've got marketing on there, OK, so not just relevant projects but marketing projects, OK? And marketing projects can be something from Management 301 - you do an HR simulation, and you market, you know? So, be thinking about what you're doing in your coursework and how it's going to transfer on to your resume, OK? When you're scheduling your classes, think about – OK, so I want to go into public relations, or I'm thinking about it. Maybe schedule a communication course that is public relations, OK? And that can go right on your resume.
This particular one does have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. That's not 2.8, that's not 2.9, just a little bit – never, ever round your GPA, OK? We say if you have a 2.7 or higher, put it on your resume, OK? But for this employer, they want a 3.0 or higher, OK? You would also want to put Dean's list on there. It could be that's programmed into the algorithm - if you were on Dean's list.
But if they're asking for a GPA of 3.0 or higher and you have a 2.7 or 2.5, and you don't put it on the resume, then it's not going to get through ATF. I can guarantee you if they're looking for 3.0, that's going to be programmed in, OK?
Well, actually, I just made a mistake. I said I can guarantee - not necessarily true when that's going through human eyes. So, the HR person, now recruiter, that's looking at your resume - if it says 3.0 or higher, you have a 2.8 or 2.9, and you're in front of someone, then I would, especially if you
have experience, OK, internship experience in the field - then you would want to talk to that recruiter. So maybe at the career fair or something like that, if you're in front of someone and you're close, and you have other factors, then I would say that you could definitely talk to that individual or if you're sending it to a contact that you have in a company, OK? Which by the way, I just had a plug on networking. I was talking to a student recently – I'm working with a student, and that student reached out to somebody at Wabtec that's their - they targeted a full-time position with Wabtec, and they reached out through LinkedIn to somebody who is at Wabtec. They connected, and the student was able to send their resume on to and communicate and network with this individual. To the individual, he asked for the resume, and that individual at the company headed to HR with a recommendation. A lot of companies - a lot of companies put a lot of emphasis on employee recommendations.
Again, remember that this process can be very arduous and long for a reason because the company wants to make sure and know that you're the right fit, OK? So, if they have a good employee that they value and that person comes forward and says yeah, I recommend - I know for Erie Insurance they ask if you know anyone in the company right on their application. So networking is key to getting ahead as well. OK. So, next the values of initiative, responsibility, caring relationships, integrity, and innovation.
So, this goes way beyond your major, right? You want to show initial initiative. You want to show these attributes in your bullets, in your cover letter, which by the way, always recommend uploading a cover letter along with your resume. Your cover letter is your story, OK? So, if you have in your bullets on your resume when you're talking about, you know, a project that you did, a presentation that you did, something that you did during an internship - then "initiate" could be a verb - would be an excellent verb to use, OK? Or somehow, you want to kind of weave this into your resume.
And honestly, if these are not your values, OK, so you could care less about caring relationships or whatever, then you might want to think twice about whether this is a good fit for you, OK? But I would absolutely want to go on, and I would want to research further what exactly they mean by all of these. Completed 200 level or higher courses in marketing, research, and or marketing management, OK? How can you show that on your resume? Very easily, OK. So I'm going to recommend - I always recommend that students have a section that says significant coursework, OK. And in that section, I'm going to suggest that students put on their list their courses, OK? So I'm going to suggest there that students would list marketing research, right? And if you haven't had, if you – and another point of that is that in this significant courses, if you're looking for an internship for summer, then you're going to complete the courses that you're currently in. So, you can include those on your resume, OK? You can put the dates right next to significant courses and put this semester so it could be, you know, August 2020 to May 2021, and then you list the courses, OK? So, I would make sure that you have, you know, those on there.
You may even for this posting consider -I usually would say just put marketing research in your courses, but for this one, if it, especially if it's a 400 level course, you could also put that the course subject. So, Marketing 342 could be on there as well, but definitely, you would want to list the marketing course, OK? And management and or marketing management. I would absolutely put concepts in management. OK, and then computer technology, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and email – OK. So this is really important, and more often than not, I talk to students about this, so very critical to have a specific skills section, and that skills section has your hard skills on it, OK? You don't put in a something like initiative or, you know, excellent communicator because they're going to show those in your bullets, OK? So, and this particular posting has Excel and Word.
You would not want to put Microsoft Suite. OK, believe it or not, the ATS is likely programmed to find Excel. And remember, it's looking at so many resumes it really doesn't care if you put on Suite, and then you're not going to get looked at. OK, so that's one of the, kind of, disadvantages of the ATS is because its main job is to sort through and filter out anyone without the right experience, OK. So if you put Excel – this says proficient, so I would put proficient. But if you don't know pivot tables, if you're not proficient in Excel, don't put it on your resume, OK? But for this particular posting, I probably would say either put management information systems, if you're in it right now, definitely put it on your resume, and then you would want to - I can't stress how important management information systems is – MIS.
And you would want to make sure that you do include that on your resume if you are proficient, OK? And then communication, OK? So communication in, back up to the relevant coursework, you would put on your core communication courses so rhetoric and composition, right, effective speech, you would put on business writing or effective business writing so the name of the course. You would always want to put on communication, and whatever you do, you always want to have a bullet, whether it's in in the posting or not, you want to have bullets that address communication - so very critical in the workplace, OK? And then you would want to use these words in your posting or in your resume several times, right? So, and then these are the responsibilities of this particular posting, OK? So, Shipley Energy public relations -so, this is what you're going to be doing in the resume, or, I'm sorry, in the internship or position role. So, you would want to research all of these extremely well, and if you had a project or you had to come up with a marketing strategy, you're definitely going to put that on your resume.
OK, you're going to match these. Knowledgeable about each function and understand impact of each one on the business. You would, definitely again, through research, you would want to know exactly what that means. And better yet, if you do get an interview, these responsibilities are great areas to take - to ask those questions, so it's critical that you have questions prepared for the company, for the recruiter, and the responsibilities - you're showing that you have read thoroughly through. You have maybe even gone on LinkedIn and talked to someone in the company about these. You would want to know how you can be successful and that type of thing.
Marketing events, initiatives. You're going to conduct market research. Again... If you have any research - research is very critical to have on your resume if you've already had it. But if you’d done a marketing research course, then that course I would absolutely include that in your coursework, and then perhaps even consider having bullets that discuss what you are doing in that class. In your resume, focus on accomplishments. OK, focus on what you have been able to do, OK? What is unique about you, OK, that you can discuss and talk about? Content from multiple social media channels. Definitely, I was looking at some of the other
postings, and WebFX has a posting, and in it, they want you to submit your LinkedIn (and) your Twitter. You have to have at least 25 followers on these different social media platforms. And they're looking to see, you know, that's going to be part of your job, so they want to make sure that not only are you competent in that area, but that's something that's important to you.
So that you are tweeting and you are following, so that's something that you definitely want on your resume. Ongoing marketing efforts, energy product lines You would want to know what the what this company - what are these energy product lines? Maybe even come up with some ideas, OK? Internal programs, communication efforts through video, email, and print. OK, so all of these become very important. Collaboration is in here. So you would want to show that you collaborate and that you work in a team, OK? So, any of that you would want to make sure that you have on your resume.
OK, these are just some more that - the keyword - making sure that you have a lot of you have those keywords from the posting is really top priority, top priority for you. But then also these other - some of these other tips... So, tailor your resume to the job description, again, you want to make sure that you are linking yourself to the role.
And you want to apply for roles that you are qualified for, OK? So, you know, and also the next tip - don't apply to tons of jobs at the same company. One thing that ATS does is a lot of times they rank, so it will rank the applicants based on that criteria of the algorithm. So it's going to rank the top - maybe they want to see the top 10, but the ATS has put through the top 50. So that's going to be ranked according to what the ATS transcribes from your resume. It also will - the recruiter has access through ATS to see the positions that you have applied to, OK? So if you are applying to everything at the company, that is - it shows that you're not really thinking about what positions fit your values, fit your interests, fit your abilities.
You just want to get into that company, OK? It is perfectly fine to continue to apply, like if there's several, a few roles within your area, then it's perfectly fine to apply to several different ones. But you know, don't apply to an entry-level position and also maybe a managerial position. I know that that's probably not something that that you might apply to at this point, but you want to make sure that that your interests, your abilities fit whatever that and the qualifications fit the role, OK? That is so important. And the HR, even if it makes through the ATS and then it's in front of the HR person and they're looking at your resume, and they look at that, and they say - this person is - it's the same generic resume that they already posted for this other position, right? So, or they're applying to every Department, every position. That's not a good message. Tricking the ATF, OK? So I have heard from students that say that they heard that you can just like copy and paste, right? Or, if it's a position for sales, that you put sale, sale, sale, sale, sales throughout the entire resume, and it doesn't even really make sense.
That shows a lack of understanding on the transcribing piece of it. It may even make it through that ATF, but once it gets in front of the HR person and they look at what's transcribed there, and it doesn't make any sense, they know immediately exactly what you've done, OK? Think of it as like kind of the programs that scan for academic integrity, right? So, it's going to be a huge red flag for HR, and they're going to say, well, you know what? They were willing to cheat at this, then what else are they going to do? You know? So that's not going to make it through, so don't. The only way to get through the applicant tracking system is to just follow the correct format. Use the keywords. Use the right file type, OK? So, ATS does not necessarily transcribe a PDF well, OK? So it's better to upload a Word doc when you're uploading.
Now - caveat to that - if the website, if you're on the website and the recruiter, the employer says, upload a PDF, believe them - upload the PDF, OK? For sure! But, for most ATS systems, that Word document is the right file to use, OK? And then again, we talked about top to bottom, left to right. You want to make your resume very, very easy to scan. And the HR person is going to scan it the same way the ATS did, OK? So, you never ever want to - you never want to make them hunt for something, or you don't want the ATS to transcribe and miss informational words, OK? Do not use graphics.
ATS does not recognize graphics. And so if you have even like a graphic of a cell phone or a LinkedIn graphic, it's not going to scan that properly, you know. Don't even use that scan code on a resume that's being uploaded, OK? If you're in front of somebody, again, fine to include these things.
You don't need them, though. And what I recommend is anything that is graphic, or a graphic resume, put it on LinkedIn, you know? They'll have your ATS-friendly resume on LinkedIn, but you can put all of your work product and your creative examples on to LinkedIn. Or you might have a website that you can upload that to, OK? So, you want to make sure that you're not using graphics, OK? But you're using a font that is easily readable. So that's Times, you know Helvetica, you know, Calibri, you know those types of fonts. Don't use funky fonts, and I really recommend: don't use different fonts, OK? Use the same standardized font.
Your font shouldn't – for it to be read by ATF, it's recommended that it not be smaller than 11-point, OK? So, you know, I have looked at students that have 10-point because they have so much. I would say definitely come in, have your resume reviewed so that we can talk about what you want to include. You want to have a working resume that you add to. You are going to add your semester projects.
That can be as long as you want it to be, but what you submit needs to be a page. Now, ATS doesn't necessarily care too much about the length; it cares about the content. But remember again, that whatever it transcribes is going to go be in front of an HR. And it's really, especially at this point as a student, it's better to just keep your resume to one page, OK? Do not use columns – do not use really kind of funky formatting.
Remember that the ATS reads left to right and top to bottom alright. So if it's trying to scan tables and columns, then it could just scan a column and then the second column next to it; it could just scan it going that way, OK? So that's not going to work. If you have your courses and you have those, kind of, in columns, that's not as important, right? But it's when you have, like, your contact information in a box and then your skills in another box. It can't recognize that format. Additionally, if you're in front of an HR person and you have eyes on your paper, they don't want to hunt either.
It's irritating, right? So, you want to make it very, very easy to scan and read, OK? And that's what that means with the fancy formatting, so don't have footers. Honestly, I kind of recommend that if you're uploading it to a website, don't even have those lines in it, OK? So just have your formatting. And a lot of you probably have been on this website. That's cool. I do just want to kind of quickly show you - these are resumes and cover letters. These are action verbs.
Resume Building is going to tell you a little bit more about what I alluded to in this presentation, like bullets, not using a template, your formatting, that type of thing. And resume examples is what I want to pull up real quick. And the first resume example on here is the one that I favor. The resume is your document. I'm going to tell you things that definitely are industry standard. So, like the big "No's," I really just kind of went over those with you, but this is your document.
I like this first one because it's so easy to scan, which is exactly what we've been talking about. So, everything, your education - if you have had an internship or you are a returning student, your work experience is very important to have first. So, if you've had work in the field, that goes next, right? But you do want to have also your academic experience. OK, so marketing projects, but you can see how this is setup, OK? In most cases, you really do want to try to keep your bullets to one line, but again, if you want it, send it to askACPC or stop in for a drop-in; we can review it as well. For ATS use, these simple bullets. Don't use like funky, you know, like this.
Again, because it can be confusing. You can use the square. You can use the circle. I don't even recommend doing the checkmarks, but that's something that ATS has trouble with as well, OK? OK, it's only going to scan what it can. It's going to scan what it can and then transcribe what it scanned, OK? So that's - and then also this is some information about a cover letter, very, very simple and it's going to show you how to do that, cover letter and some sample cover letters.
Typically when I'm working with students, they're going to, you know, they're going to do a cover letter, and we're gonna look at it a few times. Over here, I'm just going to point out quickly, Nittany Lion Careers is right here, and that's where you will go to register (and) that's where you go to search for jobs on that platform.