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How to Beat the Resume Bots

How to Beat the Resume Bots

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.

resume stand out

How To Make Your Resume Stand Out

It’s a candidate-driven market, meaning it’s a wonderful time to apply for a new job. The only downside? You’re not the only one who thinks so! In a sea of qualified job seekers, how do you make your resume stand out? We’re breaking down a few of our favorite ways to make a stellar first impression.

 Clean Formatting

Before they read a word, the very first thing a hiring manager will notice about your resume is the formatting. Ensure your format is clean, uncluttered, and organized properly. Don’t try to cram too much text onto one page, and utilize have easy-to-read headings throughout. Utilize bullet points under each section to make it easy for employers to skim your accomplishments.

 Tailor Your Resume For Every Job 

This is absolutely essential to make your resume stand out among the rest. First of all, if you’re applying online, including relevant keywords will help your resume get through any ATS system. Once it’s reached the hiring manager, they will keep an eye out for the specific qualifications they detailed in the job description. So if you’re serious about the job, be sure to submit a custom resume that matches the highlights of the job description.

 Include Numbers 

Including statistics and measurable achievements on your resume will make a huge difference. Before a hiring manager even meets you, they’ll get an in-depth understanding of your accomplishments. It will immediately set benchmarks and establish credibility for you as a candidate.

Proofread!

Unfortunately, even one little mistake or typo can distract the hiring manager from your qualifications. There’s something about our brains that will automatically draw our eye to something that isn’t quite right! Once you’ve proofread, send it to a family member or friend to look over as well. The more eyes on it, the better!

For more resume advice, read our resume blogs, or partner with one of our recruiters to find your next role!

rockstar resume

R is for Resume: How to Write a Rockstar Resume

rockstar resume

When was the last time you updated your resume? Do you even have a copy of your resume on hand? In this candidate-driven market, it’s important to have a recent copy of your resume available. You never know what opportunities might come up!

Here are five tips to write a rockstar resume that gets you a callback.

Contact information

This is often overlooked when writing your resume. Your contact information must be prominently placed on your resume. We always recommend placing it at the very top of the page. Your name should obviously be the first and largest part of your contact information. Directly after that, you should list your email address, phone number, and in some cases your address.

Remove the resume objective

Let’s face it: resume summaries and objectives are outdated. They are unnecessary and often redundant to your cover letter. As a candidate, your objective is (obviously) that you are looking for a new job opportunity. Since you should be explaining in your cover letter why you are interested in the position/industry/company that you are applying to, you don’t need to repeat yourself in your resume.

Your resume is about your work experience, accomplishments, and unique skill set, so get right to the point and start listing off your qualifications.

Edit it down

Go through your resume carefully and analyze what you’ve included. Now depending on what stage you are in your career, you do not need to list every single job you’ve ever had. If you are 20+ years in your career, you don’t have to list that part-time job you had in school on your resume.

Weed out unnecessary working experience or other qualifications that are not fitting for this position. If you are unsure whether you should include something, ask a mentor or friend for their input.

Formatting

Have you heard the expression “keep it simple, stupid?” You’ve probably seen elaborate resume templates online that are full of fancy fonts and formatting. However, unless you are applying for a creative or artsy field, it’s best to keep formatting simplistic.

Use bullet points and headings to break up your resume into sections. Make different sections of your work experience and education easy to find. The simpler the formatting of your resume is, the easier it is for Application Tracking Systems ATS) to analyze your resume. If they struggle to scan your resume, it will likely never reach the desk of the hiring manager.

Also, make sure you submit your resume as a PDF! Formatting for PDFs often gets screwed up on other computers like a Word document or other programs. Plus, PDFs are easier for ATS to read, giving you a better chance of landing an interview.

Keywords and phrases

This is extremely important. You must tailor your resume for every single job you are applying for. The more specific your resume is, the better the odds your resume gets passed the ATS.

Mirror the job description. Use the same language and keywords that are used in the job description. Yes, this means you must customize your resume for every application. But trust me, customizing your job application can be a pain in the neck, but if you want to make it through those pesky application tracking systems, it’s well worth your time!

keywords application tracking systems (ATS)

K is for Keywords: Using Keywords to Get Past an ATS

keywords application tracking systems (ATS)

Submitting job applications online is kind of like playing darts blindfolded. You’re not sure where you’re throwing or where they’ll land. It’s a shot in the dark, and we’ve all been there.

In the digital age, most resumes never reach the desk of human resources or the hiring manager. They’re automatically processed and stored into an application tracking system (ATS). An ATS is a software application that allows employers to search through thousands of resumes to quickly find top-level candidates for job applications. Yep, your resume is being analyzed and filtered by bots.

So, how do you get your resume past the bots and into the hands of your potential employer? Keywords.

How to get past application tracking systems

Companies started incorporating ATS to simplify the recruiting process. Nobody has time to review and sort through hundreds (or even thousands) or resumes. ATS do the heavy lifting for HR and recruiters by scanning a database of resumes from desired keywords and criteria at once.

Application tracking systems help recruiters quickly filter out unqualified candidates, saving them much needed time and energy. However, good candidates can also slip through the cracks. You could be the most qualified candidate for the position, but if your resume doesn’t have the required keywords, your application will never make it past the ATS.

Mirror the job description

To ensure your resume makes it through the application traction system scan, you need to add relevant keywords to your resume. That means you must customize your resume for every job application. And the best way to do that is to mirror the job description.

Now, I am not saying to copy and paste entire sections of the job description in your resume. But spend some time and carefully read through the job description. Highlight some keywords that stand out in the description and utilize them in your resume.

If the description uses a specific keyword or phrase that’s pertinent to the job, add them to your resume! For example, if a job description for a marketing manager is looking for someone to “develop and execute comprehensive marketing plans and programs,” it’s probably a good idea to work this phrase somewhere in your resume.

Essentially, to describe how you meet every requirement in the description, you need to use the same words in your resume. No more submitting the same resume to every job opening!

Avoid generic keywords and be specific

The ATS is very intelligent, but it is not as intuitive as a human. Therefore, you need to avoid generic keywords to ensure your resume lands on the desk of a hiring manager.

When using acronyms, it’s better to play it safe and use both the spelled-out version and the acronym itself. An application tracking system doesn’t always recognize that “SEM” is the same thing as “Search Engine Management.” It’s important to take the time to analyze the specific job description keywords you’re applying for.

Don’t “stuff” your application with keywords

Have you heard of keyword stuffing? That’s when you load a web page or job application with keywords or numbers in an effort to manipulate the system. And this is never a good practice on a job application.

Remember, even if your resume gets through the ATS, it must get past HR or a hiring manager. Never try to trick the system. If you are unsure if your resume has too many keywords, print it out and read it out loud. If it is difficult to read and sounds funky, you probably overdid it with the keywords. Try to find a good balance between optimizing your application for an ATS and a human reader.

Customizing your job application can be a pain in the neck, but if you want to make it through those pesky application tracking systems, it’s well worth your time!