ATS Update

The applicant tracking system (ATS) is a factor in 90% of jobs that you apply for. Unfortunately, there are a number of different systems and it is impossible to customize your resume for ATS. You can not know exactly which one you are dealing so it is important to follow general guidelines.

There are a number of common tactics that you address that will increase your chances of succeeding against “The BOT”.

  • Run your resume through to get an idea of how your resume may score in an ATS names Taleo (used by approximately 30% of companies).
  • Explore O*NET and job postings to gather keywords that an ATS is likely to be seeking in a resume and then include them in your resume.
  • An ATS allows an employer to match candidates to a job. If you do not meet the basic requirements for a job then you will not pass through the ATS. Turn each statement and requirement in a job posting into a question. You must be able to answer these questions and meet the requirements to make it through an ATS.
  • Guidelines go back and forth regarding whether to include an actual street address. The “new” current guideline are to include an actual street address. It has been found that 30% of systems kick out resumes without an actual address.

Remember, you still need to use standard header names for each section of your resume (Professional Exerience, Education, Licensure, etc). Do not use a header or footer on your resume – all information must be in the main body of your resume. Repetition of key-words is recommended throughout your resume. Repeat them from position-to-position to show the depth of your experience. Spell out acronyms the first time that you use them in your document. Do not use accented characters because ATS is unable to read them. Tables and graphics can distort fields and should not be used. Use the pipe (|) character between keywords in your skills and competencies in order to delineate each skill. If the system askes you to paste in a text format then follow the directions to do that. If you are directed to attach an resume, provide it in Word 2003.

Even if you are networking with your resume (hand delivering it to a perspective employer) it still may be put into an ATS so EVERY resume needs to be ATS compliant.

Some ATS can only read TEXT of Word 2003 file. Although some ATS claim that they can read PDF files they may read them wrong.

If you do not have experience, it is appropriate to include the statement “capable of learning/performing these functions (list)”.

It is okay to use color in the resume.

And lastly, when you look online and in “create your resume” books you may notice that the examples do not adhere to these guidelines. It is because a number of websites and resume writers do not understand the complexities of ATS. Many of the top resume writers in this country write for very high level executives where ATS is not a factor. For most positions ATS is a consideration. You can write a resume that is compliant with ATS and is visually pleasing. Do not fall victim to some of these fancy looking resumes that just do not make it through  an ATS.

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