The ATS Resume Check For Software Engineers [Beat The System & Get Interviews]

ATS resume check to get software engineering interviews
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If you’re not getting responses when you apply for coding jobs, something important is probably missing from your resume. How can you figure out wha you need to add to your resume and skillset to start getting interviews for programming job? How do you format your resume and present your experience? Why isn’t your resume working when you apply? Software Engineers have infinite options when it comes to what to they could list on a resume and what they should learn next to maximize their success. Listing or learning the wrong languages, tools, libraries, or frameworks can hold you back for months. You’d be better off putting your focus on what your job market is looking for is the best way to maximize your success.

How do you find out what they want to see in your resume and start getting interviews?

This guide will walk you through the first 4 steps in conducting an audit of your resume, and it will show you exactly what you need to add and how you need to present it to increase your chances of getting the interview every time you apply for a coding job.

Get ready to jump-start your job search, and cross the finish line to begin your dream coding career.

  1. Job Market Analysis
  2. Highlighter Technique
  3. LinkedIn Market Data
  4. Bullet Point Analysis

Job Market Analysis

This is by far the most important foundational step for your resume audit. Take the time to follow the instructions on the video and choose no less than ten jobs to add to your Airtable spreadsheet. The details are in the Data. Your Job Market Analysis helps you “speak the language” that your recruiters are speaking through the job descriptions that they post.

Remember: To learn your market, focus on the data.

How To Conduct a Job Market Analysis

1. Find 10 jobs that you want right now.

Go to your favorite job search sites and look for jobs in your area. Find the ones you’d like to work at right now. These jobs will ultimately dictate what the market tells you, so choose carefully.

2. Break down the job description by soft skills and job specifics.

You’ll find a treasure trove of information within any job description. Read and highlight the soft skills mentioned as well as the job specifics (qualifications needed for this job).

3. Source the information and place it into the Airtable tracker.

The top row of the spreadsheet will have the job title, and the columns are all the things you’ve just highlighted in step two.

4. Analyze the data by tallying up how often each skill is recorded.

This is where you learn what the market wants. You’ll start to notice patterns emerge for how often each skill is mentioned. You’ll quickly see a pattern emerge that you might otherwise have missed.

If you see a skill is mentioned 6-10 times, you need to learn that skill.

If you see a skill mentioned 3-5 times, it is recommended you learn that skill, but it is still optional.

If you see a skill mentioned 1-2 times, it’s optional to learn.

Be the solution to the problem

No one will give you a job because they want you to learn and get your feet wet. The approach that jobs are here to serve you will get you nowhere. Instead, think about it like this — a job opening is a company’s cry for help.

The hiring manager needs help, and you’re the person who can solve their problem within their given budget. Ask yourself the question, what does this person need help with?

They need help finding someone who can get themselves unblocked, is willing to learn, who has energy and enthusiasm, who proactively seeks feedback, who can learn quickly and is excited about working on the problem their team specifically solves.

Think back to your job market and notice the common words that are used. This gives you a guide of what companies are looking for so you can sell yourself as the person who will solve their problem. That will help you stand out from the crowd.

At the end of the day, if we boil down a job description, there are only four things that you could be asked to do:

  1. Create
  2. Maintain
  3. Improve
  4. Delete

You can showcase the first three with any decent project (let’s be honest, deleting is pretty straightforward). This is where “I am a proven problem solver” can shine through. Please take a second to walk through this mentally.

You started with an idea, then designed a wireframe, and created it. Since its inception, you have maintained its functionality and ensure that it still works to this day. As we all know, this is a dynamic industry that is constantly changing. You have improved this project by learning new languages/frameworks/libraries and implementing best practices.

Adopting this mindset establishes a direct connection between what the interviewer knows the ideal applicant must do and what you have already done.

Resume Audit Highlighter Technique

Why am I not getting through the ATS? Why aren’t recruiters and hiring managers paying attention to my messages on LinkedIn? Why is my resume not getting the results I want? Why am I not getting interviews?

These are all questions that we begin to ask ourselves while on our job search journey. The good news is there is a data-driven way to strategize your job search. Watch the video above to learn how to review your resume and job listings for software engineer to find out find out what employers are looking for.

Once you have a complete Job Market Analysis, you are one step closer to being prepared for your job search.

By utilizing the data represented in your market analysis you can learn what to emphasize in your resume, what skills and technologies to learn, and how to prepare for some of the basics of what you will be asked in an interview.

The original job posting keywords highlight the specifics of the job and what you can expect the focus of the interviews will be once you get a callback. Keep in mind that this is only a first step of the understanding the typical interview process of a company or job market, but it is needed to establish a baseline and give yourself the best chance at success.

How To Make Your Resume ATS Compliant

  1. Go to your LinkedIn jobs tab, find one job you want to apply for.
  2. Copy and paste the job description into a Google Doc. You can also use your Airtable Job Market Analysis Spreadsheet as your comparison.
  3. Open up your resume in a separate tab beside the Job Description Google Doc or Airtable Job Market Analysis Spreadsheet, so they are beside each other.
  4. Go through your resume and highlight hard/technical skills in light blue and soft skills in yellow.
  5. Go through the job description and highlight hard/technical skills in light blue and soft skills in yellow or make a note of high-frequency skills on your Job Market Analysis (Mentioned 6-10 times).
  6. Next, compare both and highlight all skills that are on your job description or Airtable Job Market Analysis AND on your resume in green on your resume.

Now you should see how much your resume is in tune with what the Job Market or Job Description is asking for. Your resume’s hard/technical and soft skills should be evenly dispersed throughout your resume, and at least 50% of the combination of your skills should be in green. If less than 50% of your combined skills are in green, you’ll need to adjust your resume to reflect the market data.

 LinkedIn Market Data

Now that we’ve covered the Job Market Analysis and you’ve had time to begin evaluating your resume, we’re going to touch on the powerful job networking tool LinkedIn and its connection to the importance of data.

So the question is, “What do companies care about PAST the Job Market Analysis?” This question is essential, and we’re going to delve into why utilizing LinkedIn is vital to your job search success.

Searching LinkedIn To Find ATS Resume Keywords

Let’s start with a simple programming example. One would think that you need Node to do React, correct? Or is it the other way around in the spectrum of importance, needing React to do Node? Let’s use LinkedIn to test this simple theory. Open your LinkedIn and click on Jobs. Next, run a search for Node and make a note of the hits. Now run a search for React and make a note of the hits. I can guarantee that the results will say React is more important!  

Now let’s test a job title to solidify the importance of understanding the job market. Run a search for Full Stack Web Developer and make a note of the hits. Now run a search for Full Stack Engineer and note the hits. With each search, the numbers should have increased. Isn’t it amazing what modifying a few words can do?

The activity above proves that being strategic when using LinkedIn is VITAL to your success in landing your dream dev job! Data is the crux and guide for tailoring your job search strategy to ensure your success.

Making Connections on LinkedIn

I was working with a client, and he noticed that his LinkedIn searches were steadily on the decline. He’d been tracking this data and saw the downward trend. The big question I had was, “What did you change?” We found that he had stopped making as many connection requests. The connection requests kept his search volume higher by over 50%. That data showed that 50% more eyes were on him while he was making more connection requests. From LinkedIn’s criteria, we also noticed that his search criteria were returning results for a Senior Software Engineer, but he was a Junior. We also found that he was a waiter, and he called himself the “Lead Server,” and the algorithm in LinkedIn read that as “Lead Engineer.” Since he was watching his data from week to week, he was able to see the trend, which allowed us to find this error and fix it. It’s important to track everything you can. You can live and die by the data.

Think about your resume. Track changes from version to version, but also track any live feedback that you may receive. This can be a clear indication of what’s working and what isn’t.

Think about LinkedIn. You can use a service, or you can manually track all the numbers and all the data. This data may include how you’re being found in a search, how many views your profile gets, and how many views you get on your content.

Think about your portfolio. Let’s track with heatmaps. When people visit your site, what are they doing there? Use Google Analytics to understand how long people are staying on your site.

Think about your job search. How many job applications are you submitting? Compare this to your interview data. How many phone screens are you getting? First interviews? Second interviews? When you track your progress this way, you can see where you’re dropping off in the process.

I was working with a client who was getting 5-10% callback rates in phone screens, but they were getting under 0.5% of next-round interviews. So we knew he had to work on what he was saying on his phone screens.

Tracking your job search data will be a lot of work, but it will pay off. To get you up and running, we have created a template for you using Airtable. 

Resume Bullet Points XYZ Analysis

Now that we’ve covered the Job Market Analysis, you’ve had time to evaluate your resume and refined LinkedIn; let’s talk about proving your skillset on your resume!

This will likely be the most tedious part of your Resume Audit. We’ll be taking a long hard look at your Resume and the value it brings to the table.

How Should You Format Your Resume

First, let’s discuss the general resume format, layout, and structure. If you remember the John Wayne example from the previous video, you can see a clear structure to the resume. Here is the format:

  1. Make sure to have your name and important links at the top of your resume.
  2. Next, write your Technical Summary.
  3. Your Skills section should follow if you’re new to the industry, but if you’re an experienced developer, you’ll want to nix this section and have skills listed throughout your work experience sections.
  4. Your Education section should come next if you have recent Bootcamp experience to highlight. If you’re an experienced developer, this section can be moved below your work experience.
  5. Technical Work Experience comes next, and this may be Bootcamp and/or Programming Project Experience that you’ll want to highlight.
  6. Lastly, Past Work Experience will follow Technical/Project Experience to show the transfer of skills to the technology industry.

Now that we’ve reviewed how your resume should be structured, let’s tackle demonstrating the value you bring.

How To Write Bullet Points (Easy as XYZ)

So the question you should be asking yourself is, “Am I driving value to recruiters?” How you structure your bullet points in your work experience sections will determine what the recruiter learns the most about you in the 15 seconds, yep, just 15 seconds, that they take to scan your resume. If you can pique their interest and keep them engaged, then you’ve earned 15 more seconds! That’s the type of resume you want to have in front of them to increase your chances for a callback.

You may be asking yourself what this XYZ business is all about. Well, it’s the key to unlocking killer resume bullet points!

X. Y. Z. means:

Accomplished X

Measured by Y

By Doing X

When reviewing your resume bullet points, remember the points mentioned in the video. Most of the time, something of importance is missing. You may have what you accomplished or did, but how you measured that skill or task is missing. You must drive value to the reader, offer proof of what you accomplished, and tell the resume reader what you can do for them. Here’s another example to demonstrate how to use XYZ to create bullet points.

XYZ Hard Skill Example – React

X (Accomplished)

Configured back end of responsive and user-friendly sports application to connect to a responsive React front end.

Y (Measured)

The application displays sports statistics for NBA, NFL, and MLB teams and allows users to comment on the latest game stats.

Z (Action)

Collaborated with a team to use Axios to make API calls and build out a responsive React Front End for multiple pages using React Router.

This example proves that the job candidate used React to measure and accomplish something. Once your XYZ bullets are done for your hard skill, combine them into one bullet point.

Collaborated with a team to configure the back end of this responsive, user-friendly sports application with AXIOS to make API calls and connect to a multi-page React front end to successfully display sports statistics for NBA, NFL, and MLB teams and allow users to comment on the latest game stats.

Now the tedious part comes into play. You’ll need to complete an XYZ exercise for each skill you used in your projects or on your job. Once you’ve got five bullet points, you can select your strongest ones to put on your resume.

The Right Resume Will Get You Hired Fast

If you are struggling to get interviews when applying to coding jobs, it’s a good time for an honest evaluation of your resume and trying to figure out where the gaps in your skillset lie. A job market analysis will give you the data you need to succeed against the ATS and launch a high paying coding career. Use the Highlighter Technique to identify keywords in job listing that you can add to your resume to reliably get more interviews. Once you’ve identified the right keywords include them in your bullet points with supporting data, positive outcomes, and accomplishments wherever possible. Using the XYZ method to proofread bullets will ensure you’ve to tailor your experience and qualifications so that potential employers see what makes you uniquely qualified for their open position.

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