Job Search Know-How: ATS Advances and Their Effect on the Above Average Job Seeker

average job seekerOver the last year, corporations and job board companies have started to use a search tool called “semantic search” to help match open jobs with the average job seeker better than ever before.

Semantic job search, through an Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), has actually been around for about 5 years. But it’s within the last year that it’s begun being used in recruitment by companies like Deloitte, Bosch, and Manpower.

What is Semantic Search?

Semantic search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding the intended meaning behind the search terms – not simply yielding results on the literal term itself. For example, if you told the system you wanted to find an eye doctor candidate, it may not only give you candidates calling themselves an eye doctor, but also those candidates calling themselves an ophthalmologist.

Semantic search looks at the meaning of the word to give you related terms. But it’s taking the thinking away from the recruiter and making the process less personal.

What does the mean for the online job seeker?

The Pros and Cons

One pro is that the keywords you use in your resume can now be found when related words are searched. For instance, the term Controller might result from a search for Finance Manager or other related terms.

One con is that hiring managers need to be hyper-specific about what they are looking for in a job description. Hiring managers already tend to write poor job descriptions and don’t always know what they want.

So how can an artificial intelligence system know what the hiring manager wants if the hiring manager doesn’t precisely know?

What is an Above Average Job Seeker to Do?

Know it exists | So you can have a plan to use the right keywords. Don’t obsess about using every keyword, since related words the system searches for related keywords

Only 20% of hires happen through job boards | You don’t want to spend all your time on job boards. But at least you know what you need to do to make your job posting search time more effective.

Focus your job search on reaching out to people | If you complain that your resume goes into a black hole and you are only submitting to faceless job boards, then re-focus on connecting with people. 65-70% of hires happen through people, so focus your efforts and tactics accordingly.

Understanding how advances in how the ATS  used by recruiters works can only help the above average job seeker. Use this knowledge accordingly… and improve your job search strategy.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Chameleon Resumes.


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Lisa RangelAbout the Author: Lisa Rangel, founder and managing director of Chameleon Resumes, a Forbes Top 100 Career Website. Lisa has helped hundreds land the exact job they want. A former recruiter, she is a 10-time certified resume writer and job search consultant. Lisa is also a paid moderator for LinkedIn’s Job Seeker Premium Group. She has been an Official LinkedIn Blogger since 2012. Lisa is also a featured expert on Fast Company, Investors Business Daily, The BBC and the author of Follow Lisa on LinkedIn.



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