You’ve spent hours working on your resume, fine tuning everything so that you are sending the message you want to convey to the hiring manager. The problem is, your resume might not even make it to the hiring manager if doesn’t receive a high enough “score” from the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), and that score is based on what you include in your resume. If you don’t know what an ATS is, keep reading to find out why you need to take another look at your resume before submitting it.
What is an Applicant Tracking System?
Thanks to technology, employers now receive hundreds of applicants for every position. The Applicant Tracking System is a computer program that allows employers to presort the applications based on the individual job descriptions that they have available. Each resume is scored based on the qualifications you list and how closely they match the job description. However, the ATS sorts the resumes based on a specific format and keyword usage. If you want to make a resume that actually makes it to a real person, you need to make sure you follow these resume tips.
Don’t Use Templates With Care
While templates may make the resume writing process easier, if it doesn’t save it in the right format, many ATS systems will not be able to read it. You should always make sure that your resume is saved in the standard Word doc or PDFs format to make sure the ATS can read it.
Keep It Simple
While you may be used to using headers and borders for the different sections of your resume, they will throw off the ATS systems. While bullets may be fine in some cases, any areas that are shaded, have borders, or are created using a template need to be edited to ensure the ATS can read your resume. This will enable the hiring manager to review your resume without formatting distractions.
Job Specific Resumes
Any time you want to apply to a position, your resume needs to be tweaked to make sure it matches the job description to which you are applying. This means that you need to use the same words and phrases that are used in the description. For example, if the job description says that Microsoft Word and Excel knowledge are needed, but your resume says Microsoft Office, you need to change it so that it matches the job requirements exactly. This is called keyword optimization, and this is how the ATS sorts your resume.
Get Rid of the Lists
Rather than simply including lists of your keyword optimized skills, try to incorporate them into sentences that describe your achievements using those skills. While this may seem a bit difficult in the beginning, once you do this for a few different job descriptions, it will become much easier.
Once you have optimized your resume, you need to take the extra time to go back and proofread it thoroughly. Applicant Tracking Systems can’t decipher misspellings, which means that if you spell Adob rather than Adobe, that missing ‘e’ will sort your resume into the virtual “no” pile. While your resume can make it through if the keywords are spelled correctly, you still need to make sure there are no other spelling, capitalization or grammar errors, since the person who actually reads your resume will catch them.
You should also make sure to use a 12-point font, in Ariel, Calibri, Verdana, or Georgia to make sure the system can read it.
If you follow these resume tips, you will make sure your resume is sending the message that the Applicant Tracking System is designed to read. While it may take a bit more time, take another look at your resume because it could make the difference between a hiring manager seeing your application, or it being passed over completely.