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Not getting any interviews? Follow our resume tips, and your resume should breeze through applicant tracking systems.

How To Beat The Applicant Tracking System With Your Resume

How To Beat The Applicant Tracking System With Your Resume

Posted by: , 19 April 2017
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If you are having trouble with your job search, it could be because your resume is being screened out by applicant tracking systems. These systems are designed to automatically reject resumes that are not in particular formats, or contain other non-standard elements.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to beat systems like this. Follow our resume tips, and your resume should breeze through applicant tracking systems.

#1. Don’t Use Acronyms

Because applicant tracking systems are run by computers, which like particular forms of input, using acronyms can lead to your resume being automatically rejected. Even well known acronyms that even your grandparents would understand, such as IBM or BMW, will be screened out by these systems. 

Always spell out the acronym before using it, and you will be able to beat applicant-tracking systems.

#2. Use Standard Typefaces

Whilst you may have spent hours choosing the perfect typeface for your resume, if it is an unusual font it will confuse applicant tracking systems, and could lead to your resume being rejected. Whilst a non-standard typeface may make your resume look edgy to a human, remember that the first system to look at your resume will be computerized, and that compatibility problems may mean it is unreadable.

Use a standard typeface like Times New Roman, Helvetica, Verdana, or Arial, and you will avoid this problem.

#3. Hit The Keywords

The most advanced applicant tracking systems will actually parse your resume to make sure that you have the skills necessary for the position your are applying for. Accordingly, make sure you include the key words on the job description on your resume. 

Also, don’t be afraid of repeating these keywords. Whilst this may make your resume read a little bit strangely to a human, automated systems love this kind of repetition. Just make sure that you use the exact phrasing of the job description, so that the computer recognizes the keywords. 

#4. Don’t Use Headers and Footers

Headers and footers can make a resume look great, if used correctly. However, a lot of applicant tracking systems are confused by them. They will either ignore all the information you have put into your header and footer, or, much worse, will think that the text in the header is the whole of your resume. 

Beating applicant tracking systems in this regard is actually really easy – just don’t use headers and footers. Put all of your information in the main body of the text, where the computer will be able to read it easily and quickly.

#5. Choose the Right Format

Applicant tracking systems are notorious for rejecting resumes that are not in the correct format. Whilst you may think that your fancy, creative format makes your resume look great, unless a computer can read it runs the risk of being automatically rejected.

It is worth reading up on standard resume formats, and designing your own resume in a way that conforms to them. If you do this, you will be well on your way to beating applicant tracking systems. 

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I'm an executive career coach, leadership development consultant. I'm interested all things at the intersection of leadership and communications. I blog about it here and at pure-jobs.com/blog. I work with CEOs, senior leaders and teams at companies ranging from small, private businesses to the Fortune 50. I enjoy hearing new ideas! Send any articles, tips or cool thoughts on leadership my way.


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