I try to keep up on hiring trends because I want to provide the best service imaginable for my clients.
I want to be able to educate my clients on why their new resume is going to set them up for success. That’s why I spend a few minutes during every new client resume review call explaining what Applicant Tracking software is and how it works.
Applicant Tracking software collects, stores, and ranks your resume against other applicants’ resumes. How? By identifying keywords in your resume that match keywords in the job posting. That’s why you see so much online about the importance of adding the right keywords to your resume.
Targeted resumes that address the specific needs of the employer, showcase how you can and will meet the goals of the role, and are optimized with the keywords from that job posting are the most effective in landing interviews. That’s why I spend HOURS analyzing job postings and carefully identifying the heaviest-weighted keywords for each of my clients. This step in the resume writing process can be time-consuming, and often my clients come back within a few weeks asking for help on re-targeting their resumes for other job postings.
What if I told you there is a free tool available for job seekers that identifies the keywords in the job posting you’d like to apply for instantly and claims that it can triple your interviews?
What Is Jobscan?
Jobscan is a company based in Seattle, Washington (just a puddle jumper across from my neck of the woods!). The founder created Jobscan after struggling through the modern job search himself. In fact, he created a similar tool for himself when he realized just how keyword-oriented employer software was.
The Jobscan software is an online analysis tool that tells a job seeker how to optimize his or her resume for specific job postings and conquer the top Applicant Tracking software used by employers. It’s incredibly easy to use… Simply copy-and-paste the text from your resume into one field, copy-and-paste the text from the job posting into the other field, and click the big blue Scan button.
What Does Jobscan Cost?
Curious job seekers can get five free scans before needing to create an account, but the Free Forever plan is FANTASTIC. You’ll get five scans a month, your Scan History for the last 20 scans, and access to the new Resume Manager and Jobscan Learning Center. You can always earn additional free scans by referring your friends to Jobscan.
You can also sign up for a monthly subscription for $49.95 a month or $89.95 for three months after a free month trial. With one of these premium subscriptions, you’ll get:
Unlimited Scan History
Access to the Resume Manager
Access to the Jobscan Learning Center
Cover Letter Optimization
Jobs That You Match
Resume Live Scoring
Premium ATS & Recruiter Findings
20 ATS Friendly Resume Templates
A Premium Cover Letter Template
What Will Jobscan Tell Me?
When you scan your resume and job posting, Jobscan will give you a Match Rate based on an analysis of:
Your Hard Skills
Your Soft Skills
Your Job Title
Your Scan Report will also identify your word count, measurable results, and words to avoid as well as evaluate your section headings, date formatting, and paragraph length. Don’t worry, though; these don’t affect your Match Rate.
You can also provide the company name and web address for the job posting to get ATS Tips. This will give you a HUGE advantage because Jobscan already did the intensive research for you on how to conquer the specific Applicant Tracking software used by that company.
Why Do These Details Matter?
Mirroring the Hard Skills, Job Title, Soft Skills, and Other Keywords in your resume will greatly improve your ranking within Applicant Tracking software.
The Keyword Comparison section not only identifies which keywords your resume is missing, but it also identifies the frequency of that keyword in both your resume and the job posting. While Jobscan notes that frequency matters most in the top third of your resume, Applicant Tracking software has evolved to identify where keywords are placed throughout your resume and correlates that frequency with the dates in your work history. If you use that keyword in each job description in your Experience section spanning 10+ years, that software will recognize that you have over 10 years of experience in that particular skill.
While some Applicant Tracking software doesn’t recognize varying word tenses, many modern ATS are using artificial intelligence to recognize key messages as well as keywords. This gives you more flexibility in using varying word tenses, plurals, and similar keywords.
The details that don’t affect your Match Rate impact human readers more than the software itself; make no mistake, the human reader is equally important in the hiring process!
You can learn more about how Jobscan works and its benefits in this tutorial post…
What I Love Most About Jobscan
I recommend Jobscan to all of my clients and readers because I use Jobscan; I just don’t use it the same way you might. I use Jobscan when explaining to clients why it’s critically important to target their resumes for each job they apply for even after working with me.
In fact, I’ve worked with several clients on what I call “broadly targeted” resumes. With this service, I analyze up to three similar job postings that exemplify my client’s ideal job and target the resume using the keywords found in those job postings. I typically advise against this approach because I know what happens…
That client typically returns in a month or two upset that their resume isn’t getting any response from employers. I ask the client to send me the job posting for a job he or she recently applied for and the copy of the resume he or she targeted for that job posting. The response is almost always the same:
“I didn’t make any changes to the resume because I thought it covered everything.”
That’s when I turn to Jobscan. I scan the client’s resume and job posting to discover a less than 70% Match Rate (which, honestly, I don’t care about but it seems to make an impact on my clients…) with a list of 10+ missing keywords. That’s the section I want to see the most, but I’m paying more attention to the ATS Tips section now as well.
That being said, these are the three things I love the most about Jobscan.
1 | The Keyword Comparison
Jobscan literally lists all of the job-related skills (Hard Skills with the highest importance), transferable skills (Soft Skills with medium importance), and other keywords (Other Keywords with low importance) that should be integrated naturally in your resume. It also indicates the keyword frequency in both your resume and the job posting.
An exciting new feature are the Predicted Skills which are determined by an instant analysis of similar job postings. Adding Predicted Skills to your resume will help when you insist on writing a “broadly targeted” resume. They will also boost your credibility when a human reader gets a hold of your resume.
2 | ATS Tips
You can add the company name and web address for the job posting on the company’s website to tell Jobscan which Applicant Tracking software the company is using. This is an AMAZING feature because it’s taking the mystery from conquering ATS.
For example, here’s an ATS Tip for iCIMS: “iCIMS does not recognize different tenses, abbreviations, or acronyms of skills and keywords. Tailor your resume keywords to be an exact match to what is found in the job description.”
3 | Resume Manager
I think the Resume Manager is brilliant. The Resume Manager saves and organizes your scanned resumes with a list of Hard Skill and Soft Skill matches for quick skimming when you’re working on multiple versions of your resume.
Sure, you can find these in each of your Scan Reports; but the Resume Manager eliminates a few clicks. I think this feature is going to be evolving as well, so stay tuned!
Jobscan speeds up the resume writing or editing process. You’ll no longer question whether or not your resume focuses on what it should focus on. You’ll no longer waste time aimlessly applying for jobs and hearing nothing back because you skipped the time-consuming process of analyzing the job posting for keywords.
With Jobscan, you will know exactly which skills and keywords the Applicant Tracking software is looking for and can instantly stand out as a top qualified candidate.
My Issues With Jobscan
It’s not a credible review without a few cons, right? Don’t get me wrong, I recommend Jobscan to all of my clients. I do, however, share a few warnings with my clients before sending them Jobscan’s way.
1 | The Emphasis On The Match Rate
Jobscan puts FAR too much emphasis on having an 80% or higher Match Rate. There are a couple issues with this. First, many of the qualifications and skills on a job posting are simply wish list items. Often, there is no perfect candidate for a job; no one person will have every single item on that wish list.
When I finished my bachelor’s degree, I targeted my resume for an entry-level (Let me clarify, NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED!) HR job and used Jobscan to check my keyword optimization. The highest Match Rate I could get was a 72% because I didn’t include 3 keywords (out of 15) in my resume… Those keywords were staffing, databases, and compliance.
Remember, NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED; but since I didn’t have experience to describe in staffing or compliance (I probably could have peppered in a mention of organizing my client information in databases…), I couldn’t get higher than a 72%.
In fact, adding these keywords to my resume would have been deceptive even though I was a great fit for the job otherwise.
Secondly, this emphasis on the Match Rate isn’t forward-thinking. Yes, getting through Applicant Tracking software is the first step in the hiring process; but writing a resume that attracts the interest and attention of the human reader is the next equally important step.
Human readers can tell if you copied-and-pasted your resume directly from the job posting. Too much repetition of keywords will be unnatural to read. Focusing more on the keywords and not integrating them into your unique story is a HUGE mistake.
So, please, use the Keyword Comparison section as a guide rather than a standard and pay more attention to other details that will matter to a human reader like the ATS & Recruiter Findings sections.
2 | LinkedIn & Social Media Optimization Features
LinkedIn is my forte. I optimize LinkedIn profiles for clients, and I recently released a comprehensive LinkedIn coaching program with Module 1 focusing on optimizing your profile. My preview of the LinkedIn Optimization feature has me concerned that the emphasis (like with the Match Rate) is on adding keywords more than humanizing the profile.
The best and most effective LinkedIn profiles balance keyword optimization and personal branding.
Your resume is a highly technical document by nature. It has to get through Applicant Tracking software to be seen. A LinkedIn profile is seen more through growing your network and actively engaging with others on LinkedIn than through search results. Your profile is more likely to be found through search results during a background check after reviewing your resume, so your profile should showcase your personality in ways that your resume wasn’t able to.
I take a similar approach when writing Targeted Cover Letters for my clients. Many job postings don’t request cover letters. I recently learned that combining your cover letter and resume with your cover letter as the first page can even hurt your ATS rankings. For this reason, I treat the cover letter completely different than the resume.
Your cover letter is a way to introduce yourself and connect the dots between you and the company’s mission, vision, and values. This is a place to indicate why you’re interested in the job, whether it aligns with your overall career goals or your passions in general. I’ll highlight a few achievements or related skills from the resume, but the focus is more on the transferable skills and company goals than the job-related skills already detailed in the resume.
As I’ve inferred before, the key to a successful application is to balance writing for software and writing for a human reader.
3 | The Template Upsells
This will likely get some push back considering I sell resume templates as well, but here me out for a minute! Resume templates are not always ATS-friendly, but I have no doubt that the ATS-pros at Jobscan have carefully vetted each template.
My primary issue with resume templates is that they never look as polished as the original downloaded version or promotional picture once you add your own information to it. In fact, most job seekers trim down their resume so much in an attempt to make the details fit the template. This is backward-thinking.
That’s why I offer free resume critiques!
Several times I’ve had job seekers request a free critique, the resume I review was once a template they purchased from me, but they butchered it (too harsh?) and their unique story in an attempt to make their details fit the template. Often, it’s just a few clicks in Microsoft Word to polish it up; more often though, the job seeker needs help developing his or her story.
And don’t even get me started on cover letter templates! I understand that Jobscan wants to add value to their premium plans, but cover letter templates invite laziness. I used to create cover letter templates that I promoted as “easy-to-edit,” but they were never edited. They were never targeted.
Instead of enabling them, I stopped creating templates and started offering Targeted Cover Letters. Sure, some likely use the first Targeted Cover Letter as a template for additional job applications; but I like to think that they see the difference and likely follow my example (wishful thinking?) moving forward.
When it comes to conquering the modern job search, there is no one-step tool or resource that will land you the job. A resume written by a Certified Professional Resume Writer won’t work for every job you apply for no matter how much you paid. A tool like Jobscan won’t write the perfect resume for you.
So, can you really triple your interviews with Jobscan? I believe you can if you remember that resume writing is a balancing act between writing for software and writing for human readers.
I still recommend Jobscan to all of my clients and even job seekers who decide not to work with me because it takes the guesswork out of keyword optimization and helps you get hired faster.