Let’s discuss the real intricacies of the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), what it does and how it works. For the most part, recruiters and HR put specific words that pertain to the job in their ATS and the more times that your document (i.e. resume) hits on these key terms, the more likely you will match on getting an interview. However, if your document is overly saturated with these words, you may be flagged and the system will automatically reject you. So how do you reach a happy medium? Your best chance is to match up all the keywords (or at least as many as possible), and place those words once or twice in the document. For example, if there are 10 keywords the companies are seeking to match and your document doesn’t match all 10, there is a good chance that a real person will never even see your resume, since the ATS will automatically reject it.
Aside from missing the keywords, one of the simplest ways to get an automatic denial or rejection letter and never even get seen by human eyes is by having lines next to your headings, like “Professional employment” —————————————– all the way across the document. Graphs and charts for your skills are also not accepted either, and is another reason for rejection. The reason for the rejection is that the ATS cannot scan through the lines, graphs or “no bordered” charts because the system feels it represents a new page. Finally, do not use boxes around each job. When you place boxes, lines, charts, and/or graphs into your resume, you stress the ATS system and it has no idea what to look for in the document. These systems were not designed to filter through different types of formatting. Therefore, my suggestion is to use one line under all your contact information, and bold and underline the headings and that is it. Do not use charts, boxes, or graphs for your skills. Make the flow simple, and you should find more success.
When searching for keywords, refer to the Job description, and pull out the “action words” for example… “Persuades key decision makers” therefore try to implement Persuades into your resume. Matching up these words will only help your case of getting through the robotic system companies have in place and get your resume in front of human eyes.