Be careful when you submit your resume online

  • Reading time:5 mins read

ResumeIf your resume layout is not carefully optimized and scripted to the algorithms of the website registration form, well, you might as well not submit it in the first place.

You are wasting your time if you do not accept today’s fact of life, that your resume must be designed to match the computer, which is handling your submission.

If you ignore this fact, if you think you know better, you will probably never receive an invitation to interview.

In this blog, learn how to beat the system. Increase your chances that your resume gets seen by a real human decision maker.

99% of Fortune 500 companies and a growing number of small and mid-sized businesses use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to filter resumes before a real person takes a look… or maybe never?

Google’s Director of Talent said in an interview with Fast Company that Google receives 3 million applications per year.

I know, not many companies work with such an enormous number of resumes and CVs. But the ease with which you can submit a resume online is one of the reasons why companies are seeking help from computer applications.

An ATS (Applicant Tracking System) helps companies manage the end-to-end recruitment process from sourcing to hiring to onboarding.

What do you know about Applicant Tracking Systems?

What do you knowATS is essentially a software application that enables the digital handling of the recruitment process.

If you submit your resume on a website using an online form, it means that your resume is received by an ATS.

In other words, your resume is not going directly to the hiring manager or HR department. It’s first being processed by an ATS by populating (parsing) your resume data into a digital profile that makes it uniform and searchable.

Some applicant tracking systems will automatically compare your resume data to the job description. These ATS then ranks each resume based on how well it scores based on the job requirements. The resumes ranked with a high score will only then be seen by a human being.

Will you remain in the black ATS hole forever?

ATSThere are about 60 ATS systems in the market. The list is growing.

Some older ATS systems are already outdated and unintelligent, which means your resume data may be distorted or even lost. The problem is that we, as in those who submit their resumes online, do not know which ATS system is behind a submission form.

If your resume is not created for an ATS, your important keywords or details might not be imported. You guessed it; the consequence is that you will forever remain in the black hole never to be seen again.

OMG! A report I have seen reports that almost 75% of resumes are rejected by an ATS resume test because they’re not correctly formatted or keyword optimized.

TipsUnfortunately, there is no industry standard for ATS. Each ATS will have their own algorithms and way of handling your submitted resume.

However, there are some general advice that will go a long way of making your resume easy-to-read by the machines.

5 TO-DO tips to make your resume ATS friendly

  • Word or PDF format are most easily read by the ATS.
  • Save As using file name: Your Name, Resume, YYMMDD or job you apply for.
  • Your name and contact information should all be at the top.
  • Optimize your resume keywords from the job description.
  • Use regular dot-bullet points and not asterisk, arrows, hyphen, circles.

5 DO-NOT tips for your resume

  • Do not put your name and contact information in the header or the footer.
  • Do not use Header and Footer for anything.
  • Do not add titles to your last name such a PhD, CLDM, SHRM-SCP, LL.M.
  • Do not use Text Box.
  • Do not use tables or graphics.

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.