Boosting Your Resume for the Electronic Screening Process

Many large organizations rely on applicant tracking systems (ATS) to help pre-filter resumes. The systems work by scanning resumes for contextual keywords and key phrases based on the job description, mathematically scoring the resume for relevance, and sending only the most qualified ones through for hiring managers to review. Here are a few tips on how to ensure that your resume is not eliminated by ATS software:

Keep Format Simple: Avoid headers, footers, templates, borders, lines, symbols (bullet points are fine), shading, fancy fonts and font colors other than black.

Use Common Headings: Use common headings such as Education, Experience and Skills. Use section heading like Professional Experience instead of Finance Related Experience. Some of these unfamiliar headings like Affiliations, Publications, or Memberships can be difficult for ATS to scan.

Tailor Your Resume with Keywords: Include verb phrases and skills written in the job description throughout your resume and online application. Keywords are graded both by how frequently they appear and the extent to which they are used in context. Note that these systems are smart enough to recognize the difference between random strings of words and words used in context.

Avoid typos: Edit your resume carefully! Your resume should never contain typos.

Include both acronym and the spelled-out terms: Use both acronym and the spelled-out form of any given title, certification, or organization, so you’re set regardless of which format the ATS is looking for. For example: Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Complete all fields in online applications: Even those fields that are not required. Employers may use those fields as filters and, if left blank, your application may not make it through the system.


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