Did you know that 75% of job applications are rejected before a pair of eyes even lay on it? Now more than ever, employers will be utilizing application tracking systems (ATS) to filter out candidates’ resumes. Millions of people looking for new employment opportunities and an ATS helps hiring professionals to weed out resumes to make the hiring process more manageable. So, how can you optimize your resume to get past the resume bots and into the hands of the hiring manager?
What is an application tracking system?
An ATS is essentially a software hiring professionals use to collect, sort, scan, and rank the job applications they receive. They are basically a gatekeeper for employers and recruiters to efficiently filter out or find candidates for open positions. ATS software was initially designed for larger corporations that receive thousands of applications each week but are commonly used by many employers to streamline their hiring processes.
So, how can job seekers get past these resume bots and get their resumes seen by a human being?
Clean formatting and layout
ATS is a piece of software – it can’t use logic to analyze unique resumes with fancy designs. In other words, your resume should have a clean format and layout. Don’t try and cram everything on a single page (your resume can be longer), don’t hide your contact details, omit any graphics or headshots, and use a standard font and headings. Also, be sure to save your resume as a Word document or PDF file because 43% of resumes are submitted in an incompatible file type. Keep it simple and easy to read if you want to get past the resume bots.
Use keywords from the job description
If you want your resume to enter a hiring manager’s hands, you must tailor your resume. Gone are the days of submitting the same resume over and over and hoping your get a call to schedule an interview. To get past an ATS, you need to include keywords and phrases that match the job description. The ATS is looking for specific skill sets, experiences, certifications, and other essential qualifications. Take time to review the job description and tweak your resume carefully so it matches it (without lying about your qualifications, of course). If you don’t tailor your resume for each position, the ATS will filter you out no matter how strong of a candidate you are.
Use bulleted lists
Bulleted lists are easy for both bots and humans to read. You can use lists for your accomplishments, skills section, and job duties. However, it’s best to keep it simple. Don’t use fancy bullet points or other indications for your bullets. Stick to classic bullet points like solid circles, squares, or dashes to ensure your resume is compatible with an ATS. We often see elaborate bullet points that you might think make your resume stand out but, in reality, are impossible for an ATS to scan and comprehend.
Need more resume advice?
These are three simple ways you can optimize your resume to beat the bots. If you are looking for more resume advice, check out our resume resources page. We have dozens of helpful tips, tricks, and insight to help your job search end with an offer letter.