New Job Search Service Helps Job Seekers Penetrate Applicant Tracking Systems

Preptel's "ResumeterPro" service claims to increase job seekers' chances of landing job interviews and offers, first by helping job seekers get through applicant tracking systems, then by providing job seekers with competitive intelligence on other candidates applying for the same job. CIO.com investigates whether it's worth your money.

The biggest hurdle job seekers face today is attracting recruiters' and hiring managers' attention. This challenge has grown more difficult over the last three years, as the recession forced millions of people onto the job market and as employers increasingly turned to applicant tracking systems to manage all of their job openings and the sea of candidates applying for them.

Applicant tracking systems are in widespread use across midsize and large enterprises. "I don't think you'll find a Fortune 1000 company that doesn't use them," says Josh Bersin, CEO and president of Bersin & Associates, an Oakland, Calif.-based research and advisory services firm specializing in enterprise learning and talent management.

One of the primary features of applicant tracking systems is the ability to evaluate which candidates may be best suited to a particular job, based solely on their resumes. Bersin says applicant tracking systems rely primarily on parsing software to make this determination. They identify specific keywords and phrases that are unique to a given job description and try to find those same keywords and phrases in candidates' resumes to evaluate which ones are most relevant.

Recruiters like applicant tracking systems because they offer a fast, easy way to identify the top 10 candidates in a pool that frequently consists of 100 applicants for professional positions, according to Bersin.

But most job seekers despise them because they believe these applicant tracking systems unfairly screen them out. If a job seeker's resume doesn't contain any or enough of the right keywords and phrases, the system won't rank the job seeker as a good match for the job, regardless of how qualified they may be. (A study conducted by Bersin & Associates confirms this.) Thus, applicant tracking systems can immediately quash job seekers' chances of getting called for interviews. That's why job seekers refer to applicant tracking systems as "black holes." Their resumes enter them, but they never come out.

A new service for job seekers, launched last September, aims to prevent your resume from getting sucked into the black hole. Preptel's "ResumeterPro" service claims to increase job seekers' chances of landing job interviews and offers, first by helping job seekers get through applicant tracking systems, then by providing job seekers with job interview advice and intelligence on other candidates competing for the same job. Preptel was founded by a former general manager with SumTotal, a maker of applicant tracking systems.

How Preptel's ResumeterPro Service Works

The first thing you do after signing up for ResumeterPro, which costs $24.95 per month, is upload your resume to Preptel. Then you can search for jobs via Preptel's Website, which pulls job ads from all the major job boards (including Monster.com, Indeed.com and LinkedIn). If you find a job opening through someone in your network or through an employer's Website, you can upload the employer's name, the job title and job description to Preptel's Website.

Once you select a job that interests you, ResumeterPro analyzes your resume. In seconds, it shows you whether your resume is missing any information an applicant tracking system may need to process it, such as your address, phone number, work experience or education. ResumeterPro also ranks how well your resume matches the job description. A weak ranking indicates you have a low probability of getting an interview for the job. A strong rating means you're probably in the top 10. A very strong ranking means you're likely among the top three candidates for the job.

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