We all know that a resume is one of the most important tools when job hunting, but did you know it could also cost you potential opportunities? It’s true! If your resume is too fancy or contains pictures and other elements that are not compatible with ATS (Applicant Tracking System) software, then it may not even make it through the initial screening process.
What Is An ATS System?
An ATS system is a type of software used by employers to help them manage the recruitment process. It allows companies to track, analyze and shortlist job applicants in an organized manner. Most importantly for you, it also helps pre-screen resumes before they even make it into human hands. The problem is that most ATS systems are not built to read pictures or fancy fonts, so any resume that contains these elements may get overlooked. This can be particularly true if those elements contain important keywords like job titles or skills.
Professional recruiters receive hundreds of resumes for most job postings. If your resume isn’t easy to read and follow, then it is likely that you will not get a callback! Here are some tips to make sure your resume stands out in the crowd:
If you want your resume to stand out from the rest and make its way through the selection process, it’s best to stick with plain text and basic formatting features. Make sure the information you’re providing is easy to read, and make sure all the important keywords in the job description are picked up by the ATS system!
Here are 5 things to remove from your resume today:
1. Pictures – Any pictures on a resume that are not relevant to the job can be distracting and take away from the most important part of your resume, the content.
2. Fancy fonts & formatting – Stick with basic text font and formatting features like bolding, underlining & italics to ensure compatibility with ATS systems.
3. Too much detail – Keep it concise and only include details that are relevant to the position you’re applying for. Anything else is just fluff and could actually hinder your chances of getting through initial screening processes.
4. Unprofessional email address – Make sure you have a professional-sounding email address (e.g., firstname_lastname). This will help you look more professional and show recruiters that you are serious about getting the job.
5. Unnecessary buzzwords – Adding a few industry-specific buzzwords can give your resume an edge, but don’t overdo it! Too many buzzwords can make your application seem insincere and could decrease its chances of being picked up by ATS systems.
Watch Out For Certain Resume Templates
Some resume templates are structured to include your contact information on the side or even at the bottom. This makes searching for your contact information difficult for some ATS systems. Most systems search the very top of the resume for pertinent contact information.
With its ability to track, analyze, and shortlist job applicants in an organized manner, an ATS system can be a great friend or foe when it comes to applying for jobs.
Including your contact information and pertinent information at the top of your resume makes it easy for ATS systems to upload your resume and also helps ensure your resume is properly formatted for easy readability by recruiters and hiring managers.
Don’t take the risk of having your resume overlooked. Include the following always at the top of your resume:
• Start with your name at the top – include your first and last name so employers can quickly recognize who you are.
• Include your email address and LinkedIn profile link for networking purposes.
• Don’t forget to add your phone number as well – this is essential for employers to contact you if they want more information.
• Add the city and state where you live – especially important if relocation is a possibility.
• Make sure there aren’t any pictures or fancy fonts in your resume – these rarely make it through the ATS system.
Clean, Clear & Concise
At the end of the day, your resume should look clean and professional and be ATS compatible so it can make it through the initial screening processes. By removing unnecessary pictures and fancy fonts, adding key details to the top of your resume, sticking with basic text font & formatting features, and including relevant industry buzzwords where appropriate, you will be well on your way to creating a standout resume that employers won’t be able to ignore!
Utilize these tips, and you’ll become a recruiter’s dream! You will make their work much simpler by making it easier to find the best candidate for a job.
For more career resources, be sure to check out the Resources Page.
Coach Andrea Oden