In spite of all the gloom and doom about unemployment today, there still are good jobs out there. Only problem is, now you’re up against record numbers of competing applicants for that spot. HR teams are overwhelmed by this massive influx of candidates, and often have to wade through hundreds of resumes per job post.

Fortunately for them, this process can be automated and streamlined with an applicant tracking system. Applicant tracking systems are designed to weed out unqualified candidates and make recruiters’ lives easier, so it’s important you don’t become part of the discarded pile.

Here are a few tips to make sure your resume is one of the select few that make it to the recruiter’s pile of possible candidates.

  • Key words, key words, key words. We can’t say this enough. You have to tailor your resume to each job description. Using the same key words and phrases used in a job description, and repeating them as frequently as possible in your resume (while remaining logical), will make the applicant tracking system rank you as a higher and better match for this job. Also, many ATS weigh more heavily when those key words appear at the top of your resume, because it indicates you’re currently or very recently enacting those key terms. So, key words — often and at the top.
  • Keep it simple, in terms of a lot of things. Don’t include graphics, logos or pictures. Also, don’t try to get fancy with text boxes, headers or footers. While resume-parsing tools are a great resource and save hours upon hours of manual data entry, they can’t always parse text boxes, headers or footers with 100 percent accuracy. It’s best to avoid the risk and leave out these features altogether. Furthermore, almost all ATS will strip down resumes into their most basic format, text only. So don’t stress over font or color — it ultimately doesn’t matter.

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