If you are in search of a new job and looking to apply online, you may need to tweak it a little to make sure it is “machine-friendly”. When you send your resume online, it gets fed into a software program called the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), and it stays there until the software sends it ahead to a hiring manager looking for a suitable candidate.
Hence, it is very important that you structure your resume in such a way that that the soft accepts and “loves.”
Here are five tips to help you in this regard.
1. Pick and use keywords wisely
The best source to pick your keywords is the job description. Look for what they are looking for and the terminology they use in the job description and utilize those words and phrases in your resume. Most recruitment software’s use algorithms to pin-point suitable supplicants and so you should include those keywords that the employer looks for. One way to do this is to include a separate paragraph titles “Strengths,” which would list all your skills and strengths to match the requirements of the job description.
2. Accentuate your accomplishments
You must emphasize your accomplishments. They should be highlighted and easy to find. After the software approves your resume, it will go into the hands of a human recruiter. The maximum time spent looking at your resume will be 10 to 15 seconds. Make those seconds count by helping him/her notice your accomplishments and looks through the resume.
3. Take time to structure your resume in the right way
The structure of your resume includes the format, the words, the font, and even the file format you use. Take time to write and develop your resume. This plays a big role in determining whether the ATS sends your resume on to a human recruiter or not. Use only standard fonts. Fancy is no good here as ATS will be unable to read your resume. Courier, Verdana, and Arial are accepted. When you include points, use standard bullets only. Arrows and boxes cause issues for the software. Furthermore, graphics like JPG, BMP, or PNG images are not processed by the software and so avoid using them. Overall, any symbols, borders, or shading is not accepted by ATS. Hence, it is better to keep your resume as simple as possible.
4. Use specific and acceptable file types
When your structure is perfect, make sure you use save the document as a .RTF or .DOC file. It is best to avoid DOCX, PDF, WPS, WPD, or HTML files. When the software reads your resume, it first converts it to plain text (“.txt”) and then processes it. Therefore before you press send, first save a copy as plain text and check to see if it is still readable without formatting issues. Once you have all that checked, only then send in your resume.
5. Include detailed contact information
Write your contact information at the top of the page. If you are serious about getting the job, put in your contact information at the beginning. It should never be written in just one line. Remember to include your name, full postal address, email address, and phone number.
Your resume is the first sample of writing that your employer sees. Keeping it concise and simple not only helps it pass ATS, but also gives your prospective employer the opportunity to evaluate you.