Have you ever wondered what happens after you upload your resume and hit the submit button to apply for the job of your dreams? Your resume does not go directly to the company to which you are applying; in fact, 75% of the resumes submitted are never seen by the company’s recruiter.

Why?  Because, in most cases, there is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) between you and the employer. The ATS collects, categorizes, scans and ranks the resumes as they are submitted. If your resume doesn’t rank high enough, the employer will never see your resume.

To improve the chances of your resume receiving a ranking high enough to be seen by a human, you need to keep it simple.

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Prepare your Resume

Use a standard resume format with a professional summary highlighting your key qualifications, hard skills and accomplishments and demonstrate chronologically how you capitalized on these skills with each position and what you were able to achieve as a result.

Do not use headers and footers; the ATS system can’t read them. Include your contact information and any other important information in the body of your resume. 

Do not use images, charts and other graphics because the ATS can’t read these either.

When using acronyms be sure to include the spelled- out version as well as the shortened version. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Use Good Keywords

Study the digital job posting for the position for which you are applying and take note of the keywords used. Be sure to use those same keywords throughout your resume. 

Find at least three different job descriptions for the same position and pay attention to the keywords commonly used in all three to define the position, its responsibilities and requirements.  If they relate to you, incorporate these words under different headings within your resume, Education, Work Experience.

Create content for your resume using the exact words, abbreviations, and numbers written in the job description or digital job posting.

If a position requires” knowledge of CRM software”, use the exact same words; don’t use Hubspot or Salesforce.

Word is better than PDF

Upload your resume as a WORD document not a PDF. A PDF cannot always be read by an ATS.

Check to see how your formatted resume will read after going through ATS by saving the document in plain text and reading the results. If the plain text version doesn’t look right, you will need to reformat.

You can also submit your resume to websites such as TopResume.com or Jobscan.com. They will review your resume to see if it is ATS compatible.

When preparing your resume, remember your ultimate goal is to have your resume read by a human.  Even though you are preparing a resume to satisfy the requirements of the ATS, you must keep in mind that this same resume must catch the attention of the recruiter.

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