What is an ATS/resume parser
Importance of keywords
Including complete contact information
What is an ATS?
The Importance of Keywords
Design, Structure & Format
Save your resume as a Word document. Sure, PDFs are "fancier" but robots don’t appreciate your effort. In fact, they're not interested at all because it takes them more effort to "read" fancy formatting than it does to "read" plain text. Keep it simple. Take the path of least resistance. Give robots what they want -- simple, clean text.
- Make sure your contact information is in the main part of the document, as opposed to the header or footer. Some applicant tracking systems aren't programmed to read what's in the header or footer, so that information could well be lost to the robot. What if the recruiter or hiring manager is searching for someone local? You want your contact info (ie: city) to be visible by the robots.
- Don't fill your resume with images and custom fonts. Again, ATS robots aren’t impressed by your fanciful efforts. They'll skip right over important information that's difficult to parse. Less is more. Use common fonts like Arial or Times New Roman -- there’s a great list of safe universal web fonts here -- and make sure important information (like contact details and keyword-rich skills) is in text format, not images.
- Avoid Tables. Sure, some parsers might be able to read the information inside the cells, but accuracy will likely be lost. If at all possible, try to avoid using tables in your resume.
- What about templates? Just say no. Yes, they can be great for inspiration, but you don't want to use a template because they're layouts are usually complicated and filled with graphics, unknown typography and other characters and elements that are likely to trip up the software.
- Avoid including your references' contact information in your resume. As a rule of thumb, unless explicitly requested, you shouldn't include references in your resume. Adding the names, titles, or any contact information of your references can confuse the resume parser and cause issues when importing your resume and creating your profile within the ATS.
Looking for a job is tough under the best of circumstances. Arm yourself with the very best resume possible so you can get past that first gatekeeper -- the ATS. Once you climb that first hill, you can move on to the interview process with your potential new employer. And let’s face it, that’s where you can really show off your skills and land your dream job!
David Aplin Group is a private family and employee owned Canadian staffing agency founded in Alberta in 1975, recognized as one of Canada's most accomplished recruiting firms. Our mission is to positively impact lives. Blog author, Sarah Tokar, is a Partner at David Aplin Group, based in Edmonton, Alberta.
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