Applicant Tracking Systems and Professional Summaries

By Ria Kalinowski

When applying to full-time positions outside of WITworks, seniors and alumni need to tailor their resumes to each position they apply for to get their application past the Applicant Tracking System and into the hands of a human. Using a professional summary is a quick and easy way to do that!

 

What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

Almost every large company and many smaller companies use ATS software to scan, sort, and filter applicant resumes. Applicants are then ranked according to how they match the key words that employers are looking for. Customizing your resume is key in order to get your resume seen.

ATS Visula

 

Basic tips for beating an ATS

  • Keep formatting simple so the ATS can more easily scan your resume and match your skills with the correct dates.
  • Use standard headings such as “Education” and “Experience” so the ATS isn’t confused.
  • Avoid using tables, headers, and columns as these can cause errors within the ATS.
  • A PDF file is not compatible with all types of ATS software. Read the directions carefully when submitting your resume and unless “PDF” is listed among the file types accepted, stick to a Word document or plain-text file.
  • Use a Professional Summary as an additional way to include those key words employers are looking for and a quick way to tailor each resume you submit.

 

How to Write a Professional Summary

  • Where does it go:
    • Include your professional summary directly below your contact information so this is the first section employers see.
  • What does it look like:
    • Name your professional summary the title of the position you are applying for as long as it accurately represents your skills and experience or check out the summaries below for additional ideas.
    • Keep it brief! Limit your summary to 3-5 statements and avoid using “I” and other personal pronouns.
    • Use several statements in a paragraph form or a bulleted list.
  • What to include:
    • Optimize your keywords to be found! Include the job title you are applying for and the technical and transferable skills you possess that they ask for in the job description. Pay careful attention to words that are repeated often and try to include those in your summary and/or elsewhere on your resume.
    • Highlight your skills and experience that are directly related to the position that you are applying for.
    • Include major accomplishments and use numbers whenever possible.
    • Look at the positions you are applying for and use language directly from those job descriptions when appropriate.

ATS Visual

 

Additional ATS Resources:

How the Top 5 Applicant Tracking Systems Read Resumes Differently.

8 Things You Need to Know About Applicant Tracking Systems.

 

Sample Resume Summaries:

DevOps ENGINEER

Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering with 6 months work experience in building and testing video platforms. Strong programming skills in C, Java, and Python. Comprehensive debugging and troubleshooting skills. Proven ability to engineer complex solutions for scaling environments.

 

ELECTRICAL ENGINEER

Electrical Engineering graduate with a year of industry experience. Strong interest in power systems with demonstrated knowledge of building science and energy efficiency. Strengths include use of SolidWorks and AutoCAD when reading and editing project drawings. Proven ability to collaborate with multidisciplinary teams.

 

PROJECT MANAGER

Business Management student with 9 months of print project management experience and knowledge of web production obtained from internships in educational publishing and consumer packaging. Creative problem solver who has consistently completed projects on time and within budget. Employed a customer-focused approach which increased repeat business by 15% over the prior cycle. Available September 2019.

 

MECHANICAL ENGINEER

Results oriented mechanical engineer focused on design, prototyping, analysis, testing, documentation, and manufacturing support. Experienced in the fabrication of mechanical components, complex systems and mechanical devices. Strengths include:

  • SolidWorks for mechanical design
  • AutoCAD for process design
  • Rapid prototyping
  • New product development and introduction
  • Lean manufacturing

 

IT SPECIALIST

Wentworth Institute of Technology student offering a strong foundation in IT combined with 6 months of internship experience. Proven track record of providing Tier 1 & 2 support both in-person and remotely using ServiceNow. Skilled in explaining technical issues to non-technical end users. Experience with migration projects for both Macs and Windows. Creative troubleshooter with a customer service mindset.

 

BIOMEDICAL ENGINEER

Class of 2019 with minors in Manufacturing and Biology. More than a year of experience in the medical device industry. Strong interest in manufacturing and working knowledge of new and upcoming medical devices such as orthopedics, implants, and prosthetics.

 

CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGER

Results-driven construction and project manager with 8 months of management experience and 1+ years of experience in the construction industry. Skilled at comprehending and interpreting architectural and civil blueprint plans especially using Bluebeam. Experience with, or exposure to, various construction management situations including scheduling, contracts, problem reporting and resolution, management of subcontractors and site safety.

 

Spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair is Tuesday, March 19th! For events leading up to Career Fair, check out our Prep Week Schedule.

To make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617 989 4101 or stop by during spring 2019 Drop-In Hours: Monday, Tuedsday, and Wednesday 1:30pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Grad School FAQs Pt. 3: The Application

A guest series by WIT Faculty: Aaron Carpenter

In a previous post, we discussed the basics of graduate school, focusing on the differences between degree programs.  If you have not seen that post, check it out here.

application image

In this post, I will share some hints on how to apply to graduate school. I have personally reviewed graduate applications at other institutions, so some of these hints are coming from my own experience.  Other hints have come from a variety of other sources, including other professors, on whom you should rely to help. Through this process, make sure to talk to your career advisor and your academic advisors, as well as any professors willing to help.

Let’s get to the questions:

Before a student applies, how do they even know where to apply? Is it similar to applying to undergraduate programs?

  • First choose an area in which you want to study. Ideally this is more specific than your undergrad major, but might not be. For this, think about the most interesting experiences you’ve had in courses, projects, jobs, or just general curiosity.Given this information, talk to your advisor, peers who have graduated, and professors in the field to get a sense of quality schools/programs.You can use national published rankings as an initial feature, but be more focused in your search.
    • For example, department size in terms of students and faculty, location of the school, strength in specific areas, support structures and resources, and amount of research funding via grants).
  • Now start checking websites for school Unlike in undergrad, you won’t be applying to the University as a whole, but instead a particular program. Thus, quickly delve into parts of the site focusing on the department, the research areas/labs therein, faculty, and course offerings. Some of the important details to note for specific labs are where graduates work, size of the labs, publishing activity, time to graduations, student jobs after graduation, and funding sources.
  • As you narrow your programs to which to apply, choose those that have a specialty you are interested in, not just based on overall reputation.Be sure to have “safety” schools and “reach” schools: don’t reach with all your picks, but also don’t aim too low.

Now assuming students have a list of schools, should students send a resume? Similar to a job?

  • Most schools will want a résumé or CV (curriculum vitae), to get an overall sense of credentials and course/work/project experience.For industry jobs you likely received the advice of keeping it down to a page –for graduate applications,it can be quite a bit longer (2-5 pages). The CV should contain: education history, job history, all relevant projects from courses or extra-curricular, memberships (IEEE, ACM, SWE, NSBE), all skills/qualifications, research interests, relevant courses taken, and any other academic/professional elements that will strengthen your candidacy (probably exclude “hobbies” unless they are relevant).While the base content will probably be the same across applications, you should reformat based on individual schools/labs as appropriate; you may want to reorder projects or skills to be tailored to a specific school/lab.There are numerous templates and examples online, but you should talk to available resources on your campus (CO-OP +CAREER Center and advisors).

What else do people need when they apply?

  • There is usually a personal statement or a statement of purpose.  This is somewhat like a graduate school version of a cover letter.  It is your opportunity to explain why you want a graduate degree from that school in that topic, and why YOU are suited to it.  Use this document to provide details on resume items (like, what a project taught you, how it prepared you, how it applies to that program/lab). Try to stand out a bit; these get boring when faculty read a bunch of them at once. Grammatical errors are a non-starter; readers will just put it down and move on, so PROOFREAD.
  • Again, the base can be quite similar across applications, but you will likely specialize at LEAST the school/lab name (be sure not to forget!), but ideally also call out individual faculty that might offer a course (Master’s) or advise research related to your interests (PhD). This specificity will help the graduate committee steer your application to the right people for evaluation.

Will students need references?

  • Yes, and the writers are usually 3-4 academic people (professors, instructors, department chairs, research advisor, academic advisor). You can get a boss or supervisor, if they can speak strongly to your project/research experience, but focus on academics.  A good letter gets into specifics at length – so choose individuals that know you and your work/abilities beyond attendance or a grade in a class.
  • Give time for this; don’t wait until the last second. Ideally meet with each writer a couple months out, provide them with the list of programs and associated deadlines, as well as best drafts of your supporting materials. You may offer points for them to focus on. As the deadlines approach, be sure to monitor progress and respectfully provide infrequent reminders (faculty get busy and can forget!).

Most programs will require GRE scores (also TOEFL for international students). How should students prepare for these?

  • Think of this as the SATs for grad school. Take it as early as you can, and you can take it more than once (though you will need to pay for each time). As with SATs, you will have the scores sent to the schools directly, but you may also list the scores on the resume/application as well.
  • These are taken on a computer, so you will know some scores by completion of the exam. The test is also adaptive based upon your responses – be sure to read up on the test and practice ahead of time.For technical fields, the Math component matters more (and will likely have higher requirements), but verbal/writing ability is also important (especially for PhD).  The verbal scores could impact your placement in terms of teaching assistantships.
  • You will also need your school to send official transcripts to each program.

When should students be applying? When should you start?

  • If you are potentially interested in research, try to find an opportunity as early as possible in undergrad to gain some experience. Talk with professors in your classes as a starting point.
  • In your junior/early senior year you should focus on finding schools of interest and taking GREs.
  • In the fall of your senior year you need to arrange for recommendation letters early, and expect to submit all the materials by November/December.

In the spring of your senior year you will begin receiving acceptance/rejection notices (typically January-March). Many PhD programs will offer visits to try to convince you to join their program, although sometimes there may be intermediate interview stages. Official decisions typically occur in early-mid April.

If all works out, you’ll be attending a graduate program in the coming Fall!

What do you do after you have submitted?

  • Sort of like getting a job, you should follow up. Keep your eyes open for emails or phone calls; reach out to faculty and departments.
  • In the end, choose based on school reputation, job opportunities, research opportunities, funding/cost, and overall feel – trust your gut 🙂

For more questions regarding the application process, make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor by calling the front desk at 617 989 4101.

Fall 2018 WITwear Hours: Mon – Thurs 5 PM – 8 PM, Fri 10 AM – 3 PM