12 Ways to Optimize Your Resume for Applicant Tracking Systems

  • — May 14, 2019

    Applying for a job can be a stressful experience if you’re not prepared. Dealing with automated candidate vetting systems is an issue that can be tricky to address – here are some things to keep in mind.

    • Be Short and Concise

    Try to list everything important in a few points and pages as possible. This will give filtering applications more to work with, contrary to what you might think – they’ll be able to direct their analysis.

    • Use Keywords Wisely

    Many people have the wrong idea about keywords. Stuffing as many as you can is a sure way to get your application discarded. Applications will actually see this as a negative if you do it too much. Focus on the ones that matter.

    • Do Your Homework

    On the other hand, you should do some research into the company you’re applying to and try to tailor your resume to their requirements. Make sure that it’s as relevant as possible.

    • Trim the Fat

    This means taking out keywords that don’t fit the general description. These will only impact your chances of getting through in a negative way.

    • Standards Exist for a Reason

    It’s good to be creative in your resume, but you should stick to the commonly established standards. They exist for a good reason, and trying to go around them could mean having your resume rejected entirely.

    • Look Up Examples

    If you’re not sure what rules to follow and how to generally structure your resume, you should look up some example resumes for your line of work online. Take one and modify it until you’re happy. Use professional tools if you want to get started as easily as possible.

    • Talk to Recruiters

    Even though you’re trying to work around the limitations of automated tracking software, it’s still a good idea to talk to some recruiters and get their perspective. They should be able to give you some valuable insights into how their system works.

    • Analyze with Advanced Software

    Try to run your resume through some advanced modern analysis tools. This might reveal patterns that are not obvious to you but would get picked up by applicant tracking applications.

    • Pay Attention to Details

    This is something you’ll hear often when it comes to fine-tuning your resume, but it makes sense. You should pay close attention to every small detail because even the tiniest error can trigger the wrong flag in automated applications.

    • Always do Fine Adjustments

    On that note, try to adjust everything to match the specific profile of the company you’re applying for. This might even include changing small numbers in some of your previous positions, as long as it brings the right idea to the forefront.

    • Don’t Go Overboard

    Think about what should really be on your resume. Not every single detail of your working experience will be relevant, so try not to stuff too much information into the document.

    • Remember That Humans Will Read It Too

    Last but not least, don’t try to create a document that will be perfectly readable for an automated process. This might work to some extent, but it’s going to bite you when you reach the stage where a human has to go through your application.

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