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The Old End Run

ATS is every job seeker’s worst nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be.

As if older job seekers didn’t have enough challenges to conquer in their 21st Century job searches, dealing with the Automated Tracking Systems (ATS) may be the cherry on the top.

Think about it. Here is a system of job application that is specifically designed to weed out your resume so as to eliminate you as a candidate. The only good news is that the 2020 ATS doesn’t discriminate by age. It’s just as cut throat for Millennials as it is for Boomers.

Some experts claim that when you apply online, you only have a two percent chance of landing an interview – much less a job. Compare that to roughly 40 percent of new hires are the result of referrals.

That’s the job search world in which we all live. So, how do you buck the system? How can you do an “end run” around the ATS and score a referral?

The best way to beat the system is to avoid it. When you see an suitable opening at a company find out as much as you can about the company and, more important, who works there. Do what you have to do to find a contact – assuming that you don’t already have one.

You can search through the company’s employees who are on LinkedIn – something that you can do today, virus or no virus. You also can check with vendors, former employees and your existing network to uncover someone whom you may contact. A friend of a friend may be a foot in the door.

If all else fails and you are forced to go through the ATS, be prepared by having an ATS-ready version of your resume. Since it’s a document that a machine will read first, keep it streamlined with a minimum of formatting. Also, make it keyword rich, loaded with words and terms lifted straight from the job description or posting.

Last, but not least, be certain that your resume is phone-friendly. That is, it’s a document that can be read and makes sense when viewed on a phone. You can send a copy to your spouse or a friend to test it.

No one ever said this was going to be easy.


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