If you apply for a position at a large company, there is a chance that a human won’t even look at your resume. Many human resources department now use application tracking software (ATS) to help them sift through hundreds of applications.
While this saves them time, it means that promising applicants might get tossed out just because their resume don’t have the right keywords. Startup Jobscan helps job seekers figure out how to craft their resumes or CVs to get past ATS.
“There are people who were working for ten or twenty years and then they got laid off or had to switch jobs. Now they don’t even know how to find a job because when they first started working, they could write a resume, mail it in and it would be reviewed by a real person,” says founder James Hu. “But now you are just a record in the system.”
Hu was inspired to develop the software because he had trouble finding a job in the U.S. after a two-year stint working in China. He’d spend hours poring over job descriptions for keywords to insert in his resumes, but rarely heard back from companies.
Hu built Jobscan, which was launched in January 2014 and is currently bootstrapped, to automate the process of identifying keywords in order to increase the chances of landing an interview. Recommendations from college career service departments and organizations that aid people searching for jobs helped the startup, which claims to have scanned more than 100,000 resumes so far, gain traction.
There are more than 300 applicant tracking software systems available and Jobscan says it is able to identify keywords used by 90 percent of employers.
The startup differentiates from other resume tools like Resumebuilder.org by focusing specifically on keywords. Jobscan automatically finds important terms and phrases in a job description and shows users how frequently they appear. Then it compares their resume against the description and makes suggestions on how to improve it.
In a job description for a software engineering position, keywords not only include programming languages like C++, but also terms that are related to the software development cycle such as “product management,” “product vision,” and “STLC (software testing lifecycle)”—industry-specific patois that many applicants might not think to include until after they read dozens or hundreds of job descriptions.
Many of Jobscan’s users are nurses, veterans, software engineers, sales staff, and teachers. Hu says Jobscan can process resumes for almost any kind of job right now, but the startup, which includes co-founder Michael Lee, a former Google engineer, is improving the platform to include more specific job functions.
The software will also be expanded to include support for different languages.
Jobscan currently monetizes through a subscription plan. Users get five free scans per month, but the startup gives 50 free scans to people who have been unemployed for a year or longer.
Hu says Jobscan makes enough revenue to be self-sustaining and is currently reinvesting its earnings into features to make the software more usable.
“Our demographic of users include people who are less technically savvy,” says Hu. “Some are older and they sometimes want to print out the results and take it to their career coach so they can work together and figure out how to improve their resumes.”