This week I look at free resume checker services that help you prep your resume to get past a company’s applicant tracking system (ATS).
Two confessions before I begin:
- Like millions of other professionals whose jobs were upended by the pandemic, I’ve pondered a career change and surfed job sites.
- The last time I applied for a job was 1999. The job was in the newspaper classifieds, and I printed out my resume on super quality 100% cotton resume paper and mailed it in.
ATS Systems Might Reject Your Resume
Almost all big companies and many SMBs use an ATS system to manage and review incoming resumes. Some experts question whether a commonly quoted statistic is true… that 75% of resumes are rejected by the ATS before they get to a human. Even if the number is lower, you risk losing out on opportunities if you don’t take a few minutes to use an online resume checker.
How an ATS Resume Checker Works
The applicant tracking systems use artificial intelligence to evaluate and categorize your skills, qualifications, education and more. The best free resume checkers let you upload your resume and paste the job description to help you tailor your pitch to the company’s needs. They look for keywords, educational requirements, job title matches and experience levels and tell you whether the ATS will judge you as a good candidate. The free versions reveal basic comparisons, and a paid level may walk you through revisions and tailoring tips.
The Best Free Resume Checkers
To test some online tools, I took this resume shortcut on LinkedIn (have we LinkedUp yet?).
The resulting “resume” kinda sucked, but it was fine for testing. I then found a job description and pasted the same one next to my resume on several sites. All of them gave me info about how my resume measured up based on keywords, hard skills, soft skills, experience and matching job titles. Several even had me input the company so they could give specific tips about that organization’s hiring software and habits.
Here are three that stood out.
Jobscan had the most features and tips. It has both a free level and a free trial of their premium level, which starts at less than $50 a month. The site will suggest jobs that better suit you, but one of my suggestions was parole officer, so, I don’t know.
Resume Worded offered a great overview of why I was never going to get a job. As with other sites, the good stuff was behind a paywall. The pricing for one level was like $199 a month! But another level was less than $50, which was much more palatable.
LiveCareer’s price for the upgrade was less than $3, so I couldn’t resist upgrading. This site has lots of resources to improve your resume and organize your job search, and it was my favorite tool overall. You can also install a Chrome Extension that helps you apply for jobs on sites like Indeed.com without having to return to LiveCareer for your resume. I also liked that it guided me through a cover letter, even noting that I had a gap in my work timeline that I needed to explain.