Open post Tech Career Reboot - The March Recap - Bypassing ATS - Networking - Utilizing LinkedIn

Tech Career Reboot – March 2024 Recap

From Ordinary to Extraordinary: Customizing Your Resume for Job Search Success

Tech Career Reboot Recap - Unlocking Career Opportunities Beyond Online Applications with Susan Loth

Hey there, fellow career seekers! If you missed out on our recent March 20th Tech Career Reboot Meetup, don't worry - we've got you covered. This session we were excited to welcome Susan Loth as our guest speaker. Susan has been a Job Search Coach and LinkedIn aficionado since 2006, and she joined us to share her wealth of networking knowledge. Little did we know how valuable this session would be.

We are inundated with accounts of job seekers submitting hundreds of online applications, only to experience radio-silence - this may be your experience. It is frustrating, exhausting, and at times, soul-crushing, but Susan suggests there is another way. Let's explore the eye-opening insights she walked us through.

First and foremost, Susan believes the "spray and pray" method is just as ineffective as many of us have suspected, with only a tiny portion of jobs getting filled through those online portals. She is challenging this notion and, in turn, opened our eyes to career opportunities beyond the click of a submit button. She gave us a gift - she reminded us of the value of returning to the basics.

Bypassing Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and Personalizing Your Job Search Approach

Alright, let's get into it! Susan doesn't subscribe to the passive approach of submitting resumes through impersonal Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Nope, that's not her style!

Instead, Susan advocates for getting up close and personal. She's all about rolling up those sleeves and diving headfirst into the real connections within the company. You know, the people who can make things happen! Personal referrals or a good word from someone within the company will always go the farthest and experience the best chance of success.

Find a Connection in Your Network

This may seem intimidating at first, but let's break it down. Do you know anyone who works at the company you're interested in? Do you know anyone, who knows anyone, who works at the company you're interested in? In theory, you are only six degrees away from anyone in the world, right? You may be surprised at just how connected you are after you've conducted some research.

Find a Connection on LinkedIn

If you're unable to find a personal connection, Susan suggests going right to the source. Use LinkedIn to find someone working in the Human Resources department, or potentially more challenging - find the hiring manager and follow or connect with them. Once you're connected, send a personalized message with your resume attached. This increases the chance they will see you a hundred-fold, you're in their inbox. By initiating direct contact, you're no longer a faceless application lost in ether; you are an enthusiastic human with the skills they are looking for.

Moreover, forget about firing off generic messages to every recipient in sight. Susan always champions quality over quantity. She encourages crafting personalized messages akin to a finely tailored suit - perfectly suited to the specific role and individual you're addressing. This can be a game-changer!

Embracing the Power of Networking: Cultivating Meaningful Connections for Long-Term Success

Susan stresses the transformative potential of networking, emphasizing that it's not merely about accumulating a list of contacts but rather about fostering genuine, reciprocal relationships. She encourages us to view networking as an ongoing journey rather than a one-time endeavor, highlighting the importance of consistent engagement and nurturing connections over time.

Put Yourself Out There

By actively participating in networking events, maintaining communication with professional contacts, and offering support to others in our network, we not only expand our opportunities but also contribute to a thriving community of professionals. Susan emphasizes the value of building rapport and trust within our networks, as these connections often lead to unexpected career advancements, collaborations, and mentorship opportunities.

Pay it Forward

Furthermore, Susan highlights the importance of paying it forward, reminding us to extend assistance and resources to others within our network, even when we're not actively seeking employment. By cultivating a culture of reciprocity and generosity, we create a network that is not only supportive but also instrumental in our long-term professional growth and success.

Susan's insights highlighted the significance of networking as a cornerstone of career development. By investing time and effort into building meaningful connections and fostering a spirit of reciprocity within our professional communities, we position ourselves for sustained success and fulfillment in our careers.

Utilizing LinkedIn the Right Way: A Game-Changer for Job Seekers

Susan unveiled the incredible potential of LinkedIn in reshaping your approach to job hunting if utilized effectively. Gone are the days when simply having a profile sufficed; now, it's about crafting a compelling narrative! Your LinkedIn profile should serve as a true reflection of your talents, skills, and personality, resonating authentically with potential employers. But here's the kicker: it's not just about what you say about yourself—it's also about what others say about you.

Get Your Recommendations

That's why it's crucial to gather recommendations that highlight different facets of your professional prowess. Aim to have at least three recommendations: one from a superior, showcasing your leadership and strategic abilities; one from a coworker, illustrating your collaborative spirit and team-player mentality; and one from a subordinate, demonstrating your mentorship and management skills. With these recommendations in hand, your profile becomes a powerful testament to your multifaceted excellence.

And let's not overlook the importance of a polished, professional photo—it's the first impression you'll make, so make it count! No fuzzy selfies allowed—opt for a crisp, clear headshot that exudes confidence and professionalism.

Connect with Intent

Once your profile represents you and all you have to offer, get out there and start connecting! But connect with intent: it's not about the quantity of connections you have; it's all about the quality of the relationships you are fostering. Susan stresses the importance of meaningful interactions over just adding people left and right. So, when you're reaching out, make it personal. Show genuine interest, ask questions, and nurture these connections with the same care you'd bestow any budding friendship.

Be a Part of the Conversation

Furthermore, LinkedIn isn't just a place to showcase your professional achievements. It's a vibrant hub for exchanging insights, participating in thought-provoking conversations, and forging bonds with fellow aficionados in your industry. So, don't be shy—get out there, share your wisdom, and watch your network flourish.

Maintaining Momentum: Staying Proactive

Now, we all know job searching can feel like navigating a maze blindfolded — it's tough, it's frustrating, and it's easy to feel like you're banging your head against a brick wall. But it doesn't have to be that way. You are not the pinball, you are the player! Rather than idly waiting for the perfect job to materialize, it's time to take matters into your own hands. Reach out to your network, engage in those in-person networking events (or yes, even the virtual ones), and boldly put yourself out there - that's where the action is. Your dream job awaits, and with a dash of grit and determination, you'll secure it sooner than you think!

Prioritizing Self-Care: A Little Self-Love Goes a Long Way

It's understandable. You're knee-deep in your job search, and carving out time for yourself might seem like an indulgence you can't afford. But here's the thing: neglecting your well-being can put a damper on your job search efforts in the long haul. Trust us, a burnt-out, frazzled version of yourself won't make the best impression in that interview. So, let's make self-care a non-negotiable part of your job search strategy.

Whether it's scheduling a quiet moment for yourself, strolling through your favorite forest, or connecting with a friend, taking care of yourself is paramount for preserving your sanity and bolstering your resilience during these testing times. And self-care isn't just about pampering yourself (although that's certainly a perk!), it's also about setting boundaries, knowing when to say no, and practicing self-compassion.

Job hunting is a rollercoaster of emotions—there will be peaks and valleys, victories and setbacks. But through it all, it's important to be gentle with yourself and acknowledge that you are human. So, go ahead—put your well-being first, recharge those batteries, and approach your job search with fresh vigor and optimism. Your future self will be eternally grateful!

Wrapping Up

And there you have it — the recap of our March session of Tech Career Reboot! We have covered a lot - but keep in mind: you're not looking to land just any job; it's about finding your perfect fit — one that ignites your passion, challenges your skills, and fills your mornings with enthusiasm.

We are so thankful to Susan for sharing her sage advice and fresh perspective, with her insights you are sure to be well-equipped for your job search. Keep that proactive spirit alive, and, above all, stay authentically you. With a little luck, a healthy dose of hustle, and a dash of self-care thrown in for good measure, you'll be well on your way to achieving your career aspirations in no time.

Until we meet again, keep hustling and keep those dreams ablaze! Your future self will undoubtedly thank you for it. Here's to exciting beginnings and thrilling adventures on the horizon!

Next time, you could be part of the conversation! Join us on the third Wednesday of every month - our next will be April 17th at 10:30 am PDT. We'd love to see you there! Stay tuned for more details.

As always, feel free to reach out to us at


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Resume Wizardry: Mastering Applicant Tracking Systems for a Standout Resume

3 Things You Must Start Doing When You Become a Team Leader

Have you ever applied to multiple jobs without hearing back? This can feel frustrating but know that you are not alone. Did you know that around 70% of resumes are not even seen by employers?

When it comes to applying for jobs online, optimizing your resume for applicant tracking systems (ATS) is essential. To increase your chances of getting noticed and landing an interview read on to learn to optimize your resume for applicant tracking systems.

Understanding ATS

It seems obvious, but to optimize your resume for applicant tracking systems, you first need to understand what ATS is and what its purpose is. So, what is ATS?

These are computer algorithms that help employers filter and rank resumes based on specific criteria. Employers use them to filter out unqualified applicants and streamline the process of finding the most suitable candidates. They are used by most large companies and an increasing number of small companies as well.

If you’ve ever applied for a job online, then your resume has most likely gone through an ATS. Although they make the hiring process simpler and more efficient for employers, their criteria can sometimes be too rigid, allowing highly qualified candidates to slip through the cracks.

It is crucial to design your resume in such a way that you don’t get passed over by these algorithms.

Pick a strong base format

Start by selecting a strong base format for your resume. While there are various formats to choose from (chronological, functional, combination), consider one that highlights your skills and experiences relevant to the job you're applying for. In most circumstances, a chronological resume, listing your work experience in reverse-chronological order, is the most effective.

If you are building your resume from scratch and don’t know where to start, check out our previous blog for some extra guidance. Choosing the right base format to highlight your skills and experience will provide a solid foundation for optimizing your resume for ATS.

Choose an ATS-friendly resume template or builder

To ensure your resume is compatible with ATS, using an ATS-friendly resume template or builder can be helpful.

These templates are designed to meet the technical requirements of applicant tracking systems, such as using standard fonts, appropriate headings, and optimized formatting. Using such templates can help your resume pass through ATS scanning more effectively.

Keywords, keywords, keywords

Tailoring your resume to fit the job description is always important, especially when ATS is involved. Keywords play a crucial role in optimizing your resume for applicant tracking systems.

These systems search for specific keywords and phrases relevant to the job description. To increase your chances of getting noticed, carefully review the job posting and identify the keywords used. Incorporate those keywords naturally and frequently throughout your resume, especially in the skills, experience, and summary sections.

However, be cautious to avoid excessive keyword stuffing, as it may appear unnatural and harm your chances. In addition, it is best to avoid acronyms, as ATS sometimes misses these. Instead, be sure to spell keywords out completely.

Use common and intuitive language for your headings

When crafting the headings for each section of your resume, it's important to use common and intuitive language. Applicant tracking systems often look for standard headings, such as "Education," "Work Experience," "Skills," and "Certifications." Using non-standard or humorous headings such as “Where I Learned” or “Why You Should Hire Me” may confuse the system and lead to your resume being overlooked.

Stick to industry-accepted terminology to ensure compatibility with ATS.

Upload your resume as a PDF or .docx file

When submitting your resume online, it's crucial to upload it in a format that is easily readable by applicant tracking systems. Some application platforms may specify a format but others may not. When in doubt, PDF and .docx formats are widely accepted and compatible with most ATS platforms.

These formats preserve the formatting and ensure that the system accurately scans and parses the content of your resume. Avoid using unusual file formats or converting your resume into an image, as this can lead to compatibility issues with ATS.

Read and reread your resume again

Before submitting your resume, thoroughly check your work to ensure it is error-free and optimized for applicant tracking systems. Check for any spelling or grammatical errors. Also, ensure that your contact information is accurate and up-to-date.

Additionally, review the overall layout and formatting to make sure it appears professional and visually appealing. Consider seeking feedback from a trusted friend or utilizing online resume optimization tools to further improve your resume. Some free ATS-friendly resume scanners include Jobscan and Resume Worded. It’s always good to have a second pair of eyes.

Wrapping up

Optimizing your resume for applicant tracking systems is crucial in today's competitive job market. By following these tips, you can increase the chances of your resume passing through ATS and catching the attention of hiring managers.

By optimizing your resume for ATS, you'll be well on your way to securing your dream job. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to contact us at Best of luck in your job search! We’re rooting for you!

If you are looking for more personalized advice, don't hesitate to reach out to us at!


Job Hunting? Let us help! - Search Jobs Now


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