ORLANDO, Fla. — Ever wonder why you only hear back from a handful of companies after applying to hundreds? It may not be that you weren’t qualified, but that your resume wasn’t qualified, according to the applicant tracking system, or ATS. Over 98 percent of Fortune 500 companies use it, and when the average number of applications is 250, they only bring in four to six to interview.
So, how can you stand out to make the slim cut? Here’s how to get your resume in the hiring manager’s hands.
The first person to read your resume … isn’t a person at all! And 75 percent of resumes will be cut before they’re even seen by human eyes! “There’s a lot of applicants in the pool, especially for the really good jobs,” said Genia Kazantsev, a prospective job candidate.
An applicant tracking system, or ATS, is software that weeds out job candidates that either don’t fit the description or had an unreadable resume. Here are some editing tips to get past the robot. Tailor your resume to fit each job’s description. “Being able to show that you do have skills that will contribute to their workforce are very beneficial,” said Kazantsev.
Do find keywords from the listed requirements and include them in your work experience. Don’t cheat and add keywords in white. The ATS will find out! Do use standard section headings, as well as a universal font. Bullet points are easily readable. However, don’t include too much formatting.
The ATS reads left to right, so using columns and graphics may cause confusion. After applying online, reach out by email to someone in the company and don’t be afraid to name drop. Referred applicants are twice as likely to land an interview.
Another potential mistake? Uploading as a PDF. Forty-three percent of resumes are sent as an incompatible file type, and not every ATS can read PDF. The online application usually specifies what they can accept but sticking to word is a safe choice. If you want to check to see if your resume is readable to an ATS, go to www.topresume.com/resume-review for a free analysis.