ATS Friendly Resumes
Job seekers – by now you have heard the words ATS (or Applicant Tracking System). ATS is software used by most large employers to streamline the recruiting and hiring process and cull through the resumes (often in the hundreds) submitted for any given position. Chances are if you are applying for a position through an online platform – the company is using ATS to screen applicants, and editing your resume to be be ATS friendly resume is the first step to securing an interview.
Content is King
The ATS is tasked with filtering and ranking resumes depending on the parameters set by the recruiter. The most common tool used for filtering and ranking is keyword searches. Being able to predict the correct keywords will boost your resume’s chance of being filtered into the search results so make sure your resume has the correct keywords. It really is not that difficult to identify keywords – it is just time consuming and tedious. For example, if the job posting is for a Marketing and Communications Manager, you best have these keywords included in your resume. Likewise, if the position calls for certain attributes and requirements, make sure those keywords are found in your resume (the skills section is a great place for keywords).
One thing I want to stress is DO NOT just riddle your resume with random keywords. Make sure they sound appropriate and by all means – make sure they apply to you.
I also want to point out that keywords are great but make sure you are also aligning your experience with the requirements of the position so when an actual person does read your resume they can see you are qualified for the position and not just a keyword warrior!
Formatting is Queen
Another very important part of ATS friendly resumes is mindfulness of formatting. ATS algorithms are often outdated and cannot always discern objects, images, text boxes, etc. in your resume. That is why I suggest making sure your resume headings are simple, has consistent formatting, and has as few tables and text boxes as possible. I know I love the look and simplicity of a well-placed tables and text boxes in a resume, but they are often difficult for the ATS to read. Also, always make sure you are uploading your resume in a .pdf. or .docx format.
Finally, I always recommend that you have the .docx version of your ATS friendly resume handy while applying. You can easily copy and past from the resume into the online platform to make sure everything is correct in the fillable sections.
Just remember that the ATS is not as difficult or scary as people set it up to be. Study the position, identify what you think the keywords are, and tailor your resume to the position. Do this every time for every job. And if you are still not getting any interviews, it might be time to call a resume consultant to take a peak at your resume and identify potential issues.