Think you're following the best resume writing tips for 2020?
You may be missing the mark if you're not hearing back from companies that should have been a perfect fit.
In this article, I'll use my expertise as an executive CV writer to share what may be holding executives like you back when it comes to resumes. And you'll learn what to do about it.
The Role Of Artificial Intelligence In The Hiring Process
When most people think of artificial intelligence (AI), Siri, Alexa or even Tesla come to mind. In each case, engineers designed AI to make the user's job easier.
So it should come as no surprise that employers and hiring managers figured out that AI could do the same for them in a business setting. But many executives I work with are surprised to learn just how prevalent artificial intelligence really is in the hiring process.
The most common AI in this realm is called applicant tracking software (ATS). Using algorithms and proprietary code, ATS scans a giant stack of virtual resumes to identify candidates meeting specific criteria.
Once the AI finds potential candidates matching those presets, the program whittles down that huge stack to a smaller, more manageable pile. Then only these applications get passed along to hiring managers.
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Since ads garner nearly 250 applications per job posting, AI saves countless hours of work. That's part of why these programs have grown in popularity so rapidly.
• There are hundreds of different ATS in operation.
• Over 98% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS.
• Among recruiters and hiring managers, 75% use ATS.
And this is where many executives get stuck. If you don't know how to optimize your resume for AI and ATS, it may never make it through to the next round and to a hiring manager's desk.
Here are some ways to avoid that.
How To Get Your Resume To Stand Out In Today's Hiring Process
Here's what it takes to slay the high-tech gatekeepers and move ahead in the hiring process.
Step 1: Understand what needs to be communicated.
Before you can even think about ATS, there's one important but often-missed piece of the puzzle that should get nailed down first. I'm referring to how you convey your value to a potential employer.
Many executives unknowingly glance over this vital step and end up frustrated when they don't hear back from recruiters.
You must prove your value by bridging the gap between your experience and how you plan to help solve the company’s biggest needs.
You've probably already heard that you should include concrete numbers and percentages on your resume. These numbers should support a proven track record of providing value to another company (your previous one). Adding these concrete numbers to support your previous experience builds trust in a potential employer's eyes because you've already had success — so they know you can do the same for them.
Add key value-based metrics, such as:
• Revenue generated
• Time saved
• Customer satisfaction or retention changes
• Improved operational efficiency
You may understand what you need to convey, but how you go about doing that may prove more of a challenge.
Step 2: Communicate your value.
Think back to your previous roles. What are your most rewarding accomplishments up to this point? Jot down everything that comes to mind in one giant brain dump.
Prioritize your biggest wins.
Then go back through each one to identify what your previous employer's problem was and how you resolved it. This will give you a better idea of the value you bring to the table.
Next, it's time to use those writing muscles to turn these wins into CAR or SAR statements. If you're not familiar with these acronyms, CAR stands for challenge, action and results; SAR stands for situation, action and results. These statements help explain what you were up against in your previous role, what you did to address the situation and what happened as a result. In just one sentence, you'll convey a challenge presented, the action you took and the result.
Sentences like these create a stronger, more memorable resume than one full of generic statements like, "Led a team of 200 people to achieve 25% growth." These statements are an excellent way for you to share your value with a potential employer in just a few brief sentences. And since it's widely known that the average resume only gets a five- to seven-second scan by recruiters, it pays to be succinct and impactful.
Now that you know what needs to be communicated and you have your biggest wins mapped out, it's time to go about the writing.
Step 3: Learn how to tell your story effectively.
Another common blunder I notice with executives is that they struggle to convey their story in a way that proves their value.
This is totally understandable. After all, you've probably excelled at many endeavors in your career but didn't realize you'd need to add storytelling to your list of accomplishments.
Rather than spinning fictional tales, storytelling involves sharing how you did XYZ in the past and how that experience gave you the skills and tools to repeat those successes in a new role.
To do this successfully, we'll first need to break down these wins into CAR stories. Starting with the "C," identify the challenges you've faced in previous roles, and jot them down. Next, follow those up with the actions you took in response to those challenges. Finally, share the results that came from attempting to resolve those issues.
These answers will form the backbone of your story. And they give you an ideal starting point to work with.
Move Beyond The Basics And Prove Your Value Today
While I do believe your resume formatting and layout can affect how much it stands out, these basic pieces are just the beginning.
By going deeper and understanding how to work with ATS and knowing how to communicate your value clearly to both AI programs and real people, you'll be ahead of your competition.