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How to Make Sense of Your Resume Feedback

Posted by Eileen Hoenigman Meyer

Career Advice Expert

Last Updated March 21, 2018

One of the most popular topics on Glassdoor’s blog? How to write a great resume. It's no surprise, really — with resumes usually being the first impression recruiters and hiring managers have of you, it's undoubtedly the most important document in the job search

Knowing this, we often write articles about how to craft a great resume. But in addition, you can also use Glassdoor to get free, personalized feedback on your specific resume. Here's how it works: Glassdoor offers you the opportunity to upload your resume to the site — this way, it’s a snap to apply to jobs from whatever device is in reach. After you’ve uploaded your resume, you’ll notice an invitation to submit to a free TopResume review.

Amanda Augustine, career advice expert at TopResume, explains: “TopResume reviews millions of resumes every year. . . We partner with job boards, and speak with hiring managers and recruiters to better understand what makes an effective resume, and funnel that feedback back into our service.”

Learn Augustine’s advice for getting the most out of your TopResume feedback below.

Resume-Writing Is Its Own Language

Writing your resume is intimidating — it’s a vital step in the process, yet the rules by which it's judged often seem arbitrary. Augustine sympathizes: “There are so many rules when it comes to writing a resume that will beat the robots (i.e. the applicant tracking system) and entice a recruiter. . . Use your review as a gut-check to make sure your resume is headed in the right direction and to guide your edits.”

The TopResume review provides that gut-check by offering a two-part analysis. The first part evaluates content and design. Augustine explains: “[W]e provide objective feedback on what your resume is doing well and where it is missing the mark, from both a content and design perspective. For instance, many job seekers focus on detailing their tasks [from their former job], rather than explaining the results of their work. Others are missing key components, such as a professional summary where relevant keywords are usually peppered in. And still others go overboard with the design, making it challenging for a recruiter to quickly skim a resume and pick out the important information.”

Those ”Dreaded Bots”

The second part of the TopResume review is all about the applicant tracking system (ATS) which Augustine refers to as the “dreaded bots,” that “scan, store and rank job applications.”  Augustine points out that 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies use ATS software. She explains: “Its job is to interpret the information in your resume to determine what skills and experience you possess, and eliminate the job applications that are not a fit for the role.”

Augustine explains how this part of the review can help you revise your resume: “One of the most valuable components of our free resume review is the ATS scan. In this section, we show you exactly how the ATS will summarize your experience, what information it picks up (and misses) and which skills it believes best describe your expertise. For instance, here at TopResume, we’ve found that 10 percent of those who submit their resumes for review are using a resume where portions of their contact information cannot be detected by the ATS. Once you know what’s being lost in translation with the ATS, you can take steps to fix it.”

Tips to Make Your Resume ATS-Friendly

To get past the ATS, Augustine advises:   

  • Avoid placing important information, such as your contact details, in the header or footer of your resume document, as most ATS software cannot read information found in these sections.
  • Stick to a simple, clean design that doesn’t include embedded charts, images, or unusual fonts. Any information stored in an image will be lost once the ATS is done with it.
  • Make sure your resume is using relevant keywords found in the job listings you’re interested in throughout your entire resume.
  • Always use a Word document file or plain-text version when submitting your application to a site that uses an ATS. Many ATS platforms cannot convert PDF, HTML, Open Office or Apple Pages documents, and will discard any job application saved in these formats.

Common Mistakes Resume Writers Make  

Augustine explains that one of the most common issues she sees is candidates underselling themselves. She points out: “They look at their resume and think of it as a record of their work history, when, in fact, it should be treated as a marketing tool and an opportunity to tell their career story as it relates to their job goals.” She encourages job seekers to change their focus: “Employers care about how you’ve contributed and what you’ve accomplished, as they assume your past performance indicates how you will benefit another company in the future.”

Another key priority is writing your resume with the ATS software in mind. Augustine explains: “Applicant tracking systems are complicated software programs that aren’t able to read between the lines on your resume. You have to understand how they read and interpret your resume — or work with a professional who does — to ensure your final resume will make it past this initial electronic gatekeeper.”

The Qualities of a Great Resume

Augustine explains what a great resume looks like to her: “A great resume clearly explains what job you’re targeting and why you’re qualified for that position. It highlights your measurable success by detailing the results of your work. The content within the resume is curated to focus on the details your future hiring manager will care about because they’re relevant to the role you’re pursuing. The design is clean and simple so it’s visually appealing, and easy to skim and interpret. And, your resume is formatted appropriately and optimized with keywords to ensure the ATS will properly identify your key skills and experience.”

You’ve Got This

Augustine know how it feels to be on the hunt. She writes: “I want job seekers to know that they’re not alone. If you’re feeling stuck, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are plenty of free services and resources available to help you keep your job search on track."banner blog 15

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