Physician career change: Is your online application resume ATS-friendly?

Word Cloud RecruitmentOkay, if you’re a physician reading this and contemplating a career change, I bet your first question is “What on earth is ATS, and what does this mean for my resume?

ATS stands for “Applicant tracking System” and is a software platform that allows companies to manage their hiring process. An ATS offers an interface for candidates to apply online for posted positions/jobs and for hiring managers and recruiters to search though and screen the candidate application submissions before taking the next steps involved in the hiring process — selecting the appropriate candidates with whom to set up interviews, and eventually hire.

What this really means is that your online application is going to be scrutinized and analysed by a piece of technology long before a human being lays a finger or eyeball on it. And the ATS has no heart! It’s run on pure algorithmic logic and responds to designated keywords, keyword phrases and rules.

Here’s how an ATS advisory service describes the software:

An ATS allows you to collect applications electronically through online forms. Screening questions can often be added to these forms to eliminate unqualified candidates, and many ATSs can parse resumes based on keywords chosen by the recruiter. Once qualified applicants’ information is submitted through the online system, resumes, cover letters and additional information are saved into the ATS database and associated with the candidate’s profile. These features allow you to track candidates easily and manage their documents in one place, as well as store past applicants in the system who might be a good fit for a future position.

Once a candidate is matched, screened and ready to be interviewed, scheduling functionality allows the recruiter to coordinate schedules with the hiring manager and candidate through one system, and the inter-departmental functionality of an ATS allows hiring managers to access candidate data and leave comments. Additionally, some ATS software even initiates background checks, and sorts and stores paperwork during the on-boarding process.

So, dear physician, how do you make sure your job application isn’t unceremoniously dumped like a bad match in a dating service, as you explore new physician career opportunities?

  1. Use the simplest formatting possible — skip tables, boxes and custom fonts (good step-by-step advice in this article)
  2. Make sure your resume is in a .txt format as PDFs are usually unreadable.
  3. The summary section may or may not be recognized by the ATS. Bullets and keyword phrases from the summary should also be included in the experience section content.
  4. Stick with categories that are considered accepted standards for resumes such as “Summary,” “Experience,” “Education,” “Professional Development,” “Community Involvement”  etc. Don’t try to get clever or fancy as you’ll just confuse your ATS!
  5. Follow this additional useful advice for how to create a truly ATS-friendly resume.

Good luck!

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