It is no secret that an increasing number of companies and small businesses are relying on the applicant tracking process to streamline their hiring.
By managing the volume of applications and organizing them, an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can assist in ranking qualified candidates. In effect, they scan resumes in order to find keywords and key skills that match the job description.
Now, you would think it is easy to get through the ATS bots. However, it might be a challenge depending on the format you use. So we consulted the experts at skillhub.com to find out how you can craft a winning, bot-beating resume. Here are the tips they recommended.
1. Choose a Compatible File Type
You could present well-written arguments clearly organized on your CV. However, if the ATS does not process the content, your effort is in vain. Unless the job listing specifies the type of document, you are left with a few options. A majority of the ATS bots work best with word processors.
As it goes, your best bet is to send your resume in multiple formats – one as a PDF and the other as a word processor document such as MS Word or Google Docs. The advantage of Google Docs is that the recruiter can download it in any format that works for them.
Make note that we are talking about resumes and not portfolios. In case your industry demands that you submit a portfolio, it is best to attach a separate resume to increase your chances.
2. Reflect the Job Description
For a resume to pass the ATS, it needs to meet around 75% of the requirements mentioned in the job description. As we mentioned earlier, the software does this by measuring the keywords and specific phrases that are mirrored in your resume. The program will then proceed to assign your application a score or a ranking.
As you can guess, the easiest way to achieve this is to tailor the information in your resume to cater to the job description. You are looking at incorporating the right keywords in your qualifications and experiences.
However, keyword stuffing is not the way to go. Even if you can trick the ATS bot, a hiring manager can easily spot that you are trying to outsmart the system and not pursue your candidature further.
You should also remember that the structure of your resume matters. It is best that you provide a quick overview of your career in bullet points at the top of the resume. Make sure that your previous job titles are matching the ones required in the job posting where possible.
3. Focus on Your Uniqueness
Job seekers assume that including the perfect keywords will help them get more interviews. However, filling the resume with keywords will reflect poorly on the application. Instead, you also have to make sure that your CV does not sound like a copy of a job description, Because chances are, there are other applicants doing the exact same thing.
You want to differentiate yourself from the rest of the applicants. In the end, it is the hiring manager that decides whether you will be recruited and not the software. Make sure you put forth any projects you handled or additional training you received that might be of interest to the recruiter.
4. Get Creative
Another way to set yourself apart is in how you present the skills in your resume. What you want to do is to present them creatively while making them as specific as possible.
Consider whether you have taken on any past projects that will appeal to the hiring manager. Include the valuable keywords and experiences that they are looking for. Format it using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) in order to highlight your contribution. This will allow you to stand out and get picked by the ATS bots.
5. Stick to Simple Formatting
If you are familiar with word processors, you already know that one single space could alter the entire format of the document. It is in your best interest to avoid graphics or any images that could interfere with the ATS.
Stick to simple text with bullet points. Infographics, tables, logos, text boxes, hyperlinks, and other elements should be avoided. You should also limit yourself to one font in the body of your resume. Instead, play with different text sizes and bullet points to define the hierarchy and organize your resume. A heavily graphic resume might look pleasant, but it will not even make it to the hiring manager’s table if they are lost in the process.
While at it, note that ATS bots might not pick up any information included in the header and footer. As such, it is best to include your name and contact information in the body of the page.
6. Must-Dos of Bot-Beating Resumes
Apart from everything we have mentioned above, you should also make sure you polish your resume to perfection before you submit it. If you need a refresher, here is a list of points you should always remember:
- Proofread your resume to avoid any spelling or grammatical errors.
- Do not include abbreviations, as the ATS will not pick these up.
- Stick to basic and professional fonts
- Use bullet points while listing work experience.
- Do not use tables, pictures, or other graphics.
These are pretty obvious points. Yet you would be surprised to know how many applicants fail to do a thorough check of their applications before submitting them.
Finally, make sure you are writing your resume for humans first. Even if you clear the ATS test, you will still have to convince the recruiter to land the job. Make sure that you adhere to the hiring procedure guidelines, and add a polite note of personal touch with a thoughtful email when you reach out to the hiring manager.