Have you ever wondered why you got no phone call after you submitted your resume for a job opening? It might be your dream job or a job you needed, and you just lost it. How does that sound?
Have you ever thought why is it so? Is your resume so bad that you don't even get an interview call? Maybe not. Maybe your resume never reached the concerned authorities. The human eye never sees a great 72% resumes submitted online. That's because all the major companies use some applicant tracking system to filter the candidates.
Such an applicant tracking system goes through your resume, parse it and classify it according to a score. Only the ones that get top scores and meet the employer's requirement get to meet the HR manager. How can you make sure that yours meet the same fate?
Here are some tips that can help you optimize your resume for an applicant tracking system and improve your chances of landing the job you want.
1. Keep it simple and use the primary keywords
Carefully read the job Requirement copy and see the words that have been used by the employer. Look for the skills required section, business terms used, buzzwords and other jargon that might seem to be job specific.
Write them down. Now, you must make sure that you use these main words in your resume.
For example, if you're applying to be a "copywriter" in a company, ensure that you have mentioned this very word multiple times in your resume. Don't go overboard with using keywords. Their use must look natural.
Don't try to be extra smart or creative while drafting your resume. Yes, we know that's a huge blow to the creative people out there but if you want the job, keep it simple.
2. Use text only. No fancy formatting
Try to keep your resume in plain text format. Are you using headers and footers? Or maybe fancy headers for particular sections of your resume? Or pictures depicting your achievements and experience? Delete them.
Most of the Applicant Tracking Systems are simple software that do their job best when they have to deal with a resume written in plain text format. If you overdo the formatting, your resume might get messed up after going through the tracking system, and that means it will never reach the employer.
Don't let your career get ruined just because you love formatting or making your resume look fancy.
3. About fonts, special characters and highlighting
Use basic fonts like Arial, Courier, Georgia, Impact, Lucinda, Tahoma and Trebuchet. These fonts work best with most of the tracking software.
Don't use any special characters for they might mess up your resume. Also, try to highlight the keywords in the resume. Make it bold or italic just to make sure it gets more attention than everything else that's written on the piece of document.
No spelling errors, punctuation errors or grammar mistakes. If you're unsure about your performance with these three, get your resume proofread by a professional. One spelling mistake can cost you the job you want. Don't do that.
4. Consider contextualization
Yes, there was a time when an Applicant Tracking System was solely based on keywords. They would parse a resume, pick up the keywords and give it a score according to them.
But now, these systems have become smarter. Just mentioning your skills while using the right keywords isn't enough. The time when you acquired your skills, how you learned your skills and how much practice you have done with that skill matter too.
5. Put contact information at the top
Why would anyone want to hide his contact information in a resume? You will be surprised by the number of people who do that. When you put your contact information at the bottom or somewhere within the resume, you're making it tough for the recruiter to contact you and trust us! He won't bother to make a slightly more effort for you.
It is crucial that you keep your complete contact information on the top. By the top, we mean the body part of the resume. Don't put it in the header.
6. While submitting your resume
Most of the times you're given two options for resume submission - upload or cut paste. Applicants tend to choose the latter option; that is a mistake. When you upload your resume provided that you optimized it according to the last five tips we mentioned, the applicant tracking system used by your dream company finds it easier to parse the information and make a record of it.
When you choose the cut paste option, you lose every single formatting you did. No proper paragraphs, bullets and highlights; and this gets noticed by the employer. They see that you have chosen the easier option, and that leaves a big impression even before your resume has been read. Think about it. Do you want to make your employer think that you're a work shirker?
When you are planning to submit resumes for multiple positions in the same company, tailor it to the particular job description but make sure there are no anomalies between the different documents you submit.
When you apply for multiple positions, the first thing the employer does is to compare the resumes you sent for these posts and look for any discrepancies. If there are any, they won't be inclined to hire you.
Stop thinking that tracking systems can ruin your chances of getting a job. They can amplify it if you optimize your resume well.
We have our recruitment software with applicant tracking system to help the employers with recruitment. And we have effectively managed to develop a highly efficient software that chases the best candidates.
Tell us if you want to know anything else about how these systems work and how you can amplify your chances of getting a job by optimizing your resume.