When you submit your resume online, it gets “read” by the company’s applicant tracking system. Follow these tips to make sure yours gets filtered to the top.
It can be frustrating to send out multiple resumes every day and hear nothing back. Yet recruiters find it overwhelming to sift through the approximately that come in for a single job post.
To help manage this large flow of resumes, recruiters use something called an applicant tracking system (ATS). These systems help recruiters do their job more efficiently by electronically filing all the resumes received.
If you’re , it’s likely your resume is sitting in multiple tracking systems. To beat these systems and make sure your resume gets noticed, follow these tips: ( to tweet this list.)
1. Tailor your resume to each job posting
Spend extra time to ensure every resume you send is catered to each position you apply to. This extra work will pay off.
To stand out in the ATS, match keywords in your resume to keywords in the job posting. You should also make sure to emphasize any experience you have that matches specific job requirements referenced in the posting.
2. Spell check, then check again… and again
While people may be able to decipher what you were trying to say, machines have absolutely no idea and might immediately trash your resume. Check for errors multiple times, then play it safe and have someone else take a look. Just one bitty spelling error could cost you the job.
3. Follow the right order
Ensure these systems can read your resume correctly. Applicant tracking systems first look for company names, so never list dates first. Start with your employer’s name first, followed by your title, then the dates you were in that position. End with all of your tangible achievements in the position.
4. Give recruiters multiple ways to find out more about you
If you’ve navigated the ATS filter right, your resume will get filtered to the top and recruiters will take a closer look at you. Once they do, you need to make sure they have all the info they could possibly want.
So make sure you include all where you’re active, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook — and make sure to remove any inappropriate images or posts.
5. Use ATS-friendly formatting
These systems read plain text, so avoid using images, too many symbols or “filler words.” Ultimately, get to the point so that your resume is packed with and free of fluff.
6. Include the expected sections
To compare applicants, these systems generally locate sections, including Contact Information, Summary, Work Experience and Education. Although you can include other sections like Certifications and Professional Memberships, try to include the most important elements in the aforementioned sections to ensure the ATS recognizes your resume.
7. List every job separately
Even if you’ve had multiple promotions within the same company, list each out as a different job. This not only gives you opportunities to use additional keywords, but also helps the ATS recognize your career progression.
Although keywords are important in getting your application to surface on these systems, don’t forget your resume will eventually be in the hands of a person who will look at it objectively. While you focus on keyword matches to tailor your resume, ensure it makes sense to the human who will ultimately read it as well.
In your job search, be mindful of these tips and tricks to use the ATS to your advantage. You can stand out among the hundreds or thousands of other applicants applying to the same job and get your credentials in front of the right people. Then you’ll be well on your way to scoring your dream job.
Michael Dennis is the CEO and founder of , an innovative job search community and hiring network. Connect with Michael and the FindHire team on , and .