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3 Ways to Help Your Resume Beat the Bots

Matt Glodz
3 Ways to Help Your Resume Beat the Bots

How to Optimize Your Resume for Applicant Tracking Systems

A Jobscan research study revealed that 98.8% of Fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking systems to collect, sort through, and manage the hundreds of applications they receive.

When competing against a high volume of applicants, optimizing your resume can help ensure it actually makes it past the ATS and into the hands of a human!

By using the following three strategies, you'll be on your way to beating the ATS bots:

  1. Stick to a simple resume format
  2. Incorporate relevant keywords
  3. Use a conventional section titles

1) Stick to a simple resume format

Applicant tracking systems are often unable to correctly parse information from resumes with multiple columns, tables, charts, or graphics.

As a result, we always recommend using a traditional resume format.

Online resume builders that promise to deliver “modern” documents that help you stand out with colors and symbols used to rank your skills on a five-point scale, for instance, may actually work against you.

Keep your formatting conservative and let your work experience speak for itself.

You'll be taken more seriously and convey a strong sense of professionalism.

2) Incorporate relevant keywords

When recruiters receive a high volume of applications for a position, they often use an ATS to narrow down the applicant pool, filtering resumes using keywords.

To help your resume make the initial cut, tailor your content accordingly by reading through the job description and naturally incorporating relevant keywords into your bullet points.

3) Use conventional section titles

When it comes to section headings, keep it simple.

To ensure that the ATS correctly pulls information from your document, you should use standard headings such as the following:

  • Work Experience
  • Education
  • Certifications
  • Publications
  • Skills

In Summary

In a competitive job market, recruiters have more than enough applicants to choose from.

Based on our conversations with recruiters, resume features such as graphics, colors, photos, and fancy designs aren't taken very seriously. In fact, they’re often the reason a resume gets rejected during the initial screening process.

Remember that you only have a few seconds to make a strong first impression!

By keeping it classy and playing it safe when it comes to formatting, you'll increase your chances of landing interviews - both by beating the bots and impressing recruiters.

About Resume Pilots

Resume Pilots is an award-winning executive resume writing firm that works with driven, successful applicants across all major sectors including finance, real estate, law, technology, and marketing.

Our previous clients include CEOs and senior executives at the world’s leading companies. Our UK-based sister company, CV Pilots, was voted London's CV Writing Service of the Year for 2019/20.

For more career-related tips and to learn more about Resume Pilots, visit www.resumepilots.com.

This article originally appeared on the Resume Pilots Career Blog.


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About the AuthorMatt Glodz


Matt Glodz is the Founder and Managing Partner of Resume Pilots and a Certified Professional Resume Writer.

After studying business communication at Cornell University, Matt worked within Fortune 500 companies, where he observed what drove the decision making of recruiters and hiring managers first-hand, noting that qualified candidates were frequently denied interview opportunities due to poorly written documents.

At Resume Pilots, Matt combines his solid business and writing background - which includes prior work for a Chicago Tribune publication - to craft resumes that give his clients the best chance of landing interviews. He currently works with applicants ranging from CEOs to recent graduates and has been writing resumes for over eight years.


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