If you're in the thick of your job search or you've just begun, chances are you've submitted a resume via an online application. Where do these resumes go, you ask? They are most likely going through applicant tracking system (ATS). The ATS will scan your resume for keywords and context to see if your skills and experience are in line with the job description. It will then pull out relevant information, such as contact information and education, as well as your skills and expertise, and place them in the company's tracking system.
You've put all that hard work into writing your resume, so make sure it can be read by the ATS.
- Use standard, web-based fonts such as Tahoma, Arial and Georgia. Avoid serif and script fonts.
- Strip your resume of all fancy borders, images and special characters. These can confuse the software and cause your resume to be sent into the oblivion.
- Save your resume as a .txt file. Save the .pdf version for when you're submitting a resume via email. The ATS probably does not have the ability to sort through images and special characters.
- Read the job description and pick out key words from the description, qualifications and responsibilities sections.
- Use these within sentences and paragraphs instead of in list form. Some ATSes are sophisticated enough to look for contextualization and not just keyword matches.
- If you've mentioned your keywords in your resume summary, be sure to include these within your resume as well, as not all ATS will read your summary.
Now you're set. You're ready to submit your job-specific resume and cover letter for that job opening!