Imagine a scenario. You have filled up a job application form, updated the resume, and then clicked the ‘Submit’ button. But as weeks pass by, you still do not receive a telephone call or email from your desired employer. You must be wondering what exactly went wrong in your case.
Unknown to the job seekers, nearly 70 percent of the resumes are not seen by the employers. The reason is that almost 90 percent of the top notch employers use Applicant Tracking System or ATS to pass the information from your resume as well as map it in the database of the employers. This system may assign you the score based on how successfully you match the job requirement and then rank as well as shortlist the ideal candidates. Quite obviously, the candidates who have obtained high scores from ATS move on and the remaining candidates miss the chance of appearing for interview.
Scoring the best scores in the examination is not adequate. You also have to know how to make your candidature attractive enough to compel your employers to call you. Recently, the Huffington Post brought out a report emphasizing the need to reform the resume. According to the report, a market research organization surveyed more than 2,000 hiring managers and found that they mostly hired candidates with whom they felt comfortable with. Here are a few steps you must follow to make your resume ideal for Applicant Tracking Systems.
Use language that is suitable for job description
The first step is to go through the job listing and find out about the skills that are essential for a particular job. Find out the buzzwords, popular terms of the industry, and the jargons that the hiring managers use in their job descriptions. Make sure that you incorporate the relevant words into the resume wherever applicable. It is important to note that the ATS also looks for keywords or key phrases.
Do not use images or graphics
Unlike a manual resume, the ATS breaks down the information you are offering and then sorts it into different sections or ‘buckets’. No software can read or understand the image.
Select the fonts in a careful manner
Follow the standard fonts, such as Lucinda, Trebuchet, Georgia, Tahoma, Courier, or Ariel. Other fonts may not be suitable for the ATS.
Do not hide the keywords
Are you planning to hide the keywords in the white text? Avoid such kind of practice. If you hide your keywords, your resume will not be browsed by the system.
Use only the relevant information
Do not use irrelevant information in your resume. Incorporate only those skills and past achievements that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Irrelevant information, such as the current designation or remuneration only makes your resume less attractive to the employers.
Avoid using special characters
You can use standard bullets but you must not include special characters like arrows in your resume. Special characters prevent the ATS to parse the information in the correct way.
Keep away from using fancy borders as well as shading
The next step is to use templates that are simple and also can be read easily by the software. Do not use fancy shades or borders in your resume.
Improve your resume’s skill section
Most recruiters use the ATS software and try to know about the technical or specialized skills of the prospective client. Mention about the special programs such as computer courses, abilities and competencies. To display your skill, you must use industry-specific acronyms as well as abbreviations. In this way, your employer will be able to search for the candidates with right experience.
Avoid spelling mistakes
The ATS will miss the important keywords, if they are spelled incorrectly. Check your spellings and if possible, you can ask your friend to read it again for you.
Place the contact details at the top of your resume
You must not forget to incorporate your email address, telephone number and other vital information at the top of your resume. When you have applied for the job with the necessary instruction, you will receive email, which is sent out by the ATS automatically. Make sure that you check your spam folder on a regular basis, so that you do not miss out any vital information.
Customize your resume as per your job description
Multiple advertisements will contain diverse keywords as well as phrases. If you wish your resume to be suitable for the applicant tracking system, you should tailor your experience and skills accordingly.
Include a tailored cover letter
Use a nice cover letter that can add an edge to your resume. Make sure that you write it and design it in a manner, which is suitable for the tracking software of the recruiter and allows you to get an interview call without any difficulty.
Know the art of developing a lucrative resume that can be easily tracked by the software and allow you to get the interview call from a reputed company.
Good advice. Also be sure not to use problematic elements for information that is important to your application, because it may not be read properly. Examples include headers, footers, tables, and text boxes.
–Pamela Paterson, Author, Get the Job (#2 resume book on Amazon, 2014)
Thanks for the article Joe. I also faced the resume blackhole issue during my job search.
So I built http://www.jobscan.co to help me get past through resume scanners by comparing my resume against an job ad to identify what skills or keywords I’m missing.
I hope it helps your readers also.
Nice. I have to agree with James. So glad someone else has used jobscan.co because it’s an amazing site. Doesn’t take long at all and it was definitely worth it, also saved me some time and I’m pretty sure I got more interviews because of jobscan too. This was a good, informative article but it took less time to use jobscan than it does to read this whole article lol just something anyone who is doing or submitting a resume should look into.
Try to make your candidature attractive enough to compel your employers to call you.
Joe’s article helps people like me from protecting by ATS, as the loop holes are highlighted in a nice way.