How to Make Sure Your Resume “Beats the Bots”
In today’s world of hundreds of applicants applying for one job, it’s no surprise that a Bot is often the first gate your resume needs to get through.
In today’s world of hundreds of applicants applying for one job, it’s no surprise that a Bot is often the first gate your resume needs to get through before being seen by a human. When applying for jobs online your resume is submitted through an Applicant Tracking System (or ATS) and goes directly to one of those Bots for sorting. More and more recruitment processes are being automated, saving companies time and money as Bots sift through and rank the endless resume submissions based on role requirements. When working with my clients 1:1, I make sure we do whatever we can to ensure their resume gets by those pesky bots!
Here are the insider secrets that I share with my clients when they’re working on their resumes:
1. KEYWORD OPTIMIZATION
You want to make sure that your resume uses the same language as the position that you are applying for. The more similarities you have, the better, and even repetition is helpful.
So, if you are applying for a role that is specific to eCommerce for example, you want to go through your resume and state that word and all the similar keywords around it.
When working with a client, I will have them highlight all the keywords in a job description. That way when finalizing their resume, we simply ensure those words are captured 1-3 times.
Because you may not be tailoring your resume for each job, it’s a good idea to pull up 3-5 job descriptions and use all variations, abbreviations, and industry terms as much as possible.
There’s a reason this step is #1 on this list —it’s the most important! So be sure to not skip this step.
2. LESS is MORE
I get it, if you are in a creative industry you may want to have a more aesthetically pleasing resume. What I suggest to my clients in those cases is to consider having 2 resumes. An aesthetically pleasing one to send directly to someone and another simpler Word version for applying online. The point is, Bots care less (or not at all) about graphics, charts, logos, pictures, etc. So you really just want to include the main sections like:
– Professional Summary
– Work History
– Professional Summary
– Work History
3. CONTACT INFORMATION
You want to make sure that your contact information is not in a header or footer (I wouldn’t put anything in there except the page number if you really want to). Bots are picky and many can’t pick up information in these areas. So keep important stuff like contact info out of this area.
4. WORD vs PDF
When emailing your resume directly to someone, go ahead and send a PDF. It’s a format that’s easily opened by every computer, they can be pretty and look great. BUT, when you are uploading your resume in the ATS it’s a good idea to use a Word document. A Word doc has a higher chance of getting past the bots and they are more likely to capture all the important details (like the Keywords we mentioned in #1) versus a PDF which is often mistaken as one giant image and tossed aside.
5. FONTS etc
KISS – Keep it Simple, Silly!
Feel free to use Bold and Italics. Colour is fine too, although it won’t always be picked up by the ATS.
Bullet points will make your resume easier to read and should be used, however, avoid fancy bullet points and funky characters to ensure that it’s compatible with any ATS. You definitely don’t want the Bot to say “does not compute” and toss aside your awesome resume because it didn’t understand one character.
6. BOTS vs HUMAN
While working hard to make certain that you beat those troublesome bots, don’t forget to have a resume that will impress the Hiring Manager too.
Always ensure that your resume checks off all the important requirements that the hiring manager is looking for.
Make sure you include very specific, and tangible responsibilities and achievements.
And if you did step #1 right and optimized your resume using relevant keywords, you should be more than halfway there!