Some believe first impressions are everything. It’s especially true when you’re looking for a new job or thinking about changing career paths — which is why it’s vital to have a resume that stands out from all of the other applicants. Tap or click here for over 100 free resume templates to help you create a killer resume.
But what good is it to have a great resume if you make a couple of simple mistakes that get it rejected by robots before it even makes it to human eyes? Yes, that is a real thing. Many companies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to eliminate applicants who don’t appear to be qualified. A bot could reject your resume before the hiring manager or recruiter even sees it.
We will give you some simple ways to help your resume get past job application bots. This tip is brought to you by our sponsor, LinkedIn. Hiring? Post a job for free today and find your next great employee.
1. Choose your words wisely
One reason ATS bots reject resumes is your document could be missing keywords related to the job you’re applying for. Keywords, or short phrases, can usually be found in the posted job description for what a company is looking for in an employee.
These may include skills, certifications, credentials, degrees and other qualifications a hiring manager is looking for in a candidate.
When creating your resume or cover letter for a specific job, look at the job requirements for keywords and add the ones you possess. If the company is looking for someone with a college degree, include yours.
And don’t use abbreviations. For example, if you have a Master of Business Administration, be sure to spell it out in its entirety. Do not use the acronym MBA for the degree. A bot might not recognize it and reject your resume by mistake.
2. Don’t drone on about career goals
A good rule of thumb is to not focus on your career goals but rather on what you can bring to the company. Generic career goals could be flagged by the ATS and move your resume to the “No, thank you” pile.
Be sure to highlight specific achievements and skills related to the company you are applying for — this builds on the previous tip dealing with keywords.
Not only will it help get your resume past the bots, but once it’s in the hands of a hiring manager, they will understand what a valuable addition to the team you will be. Remember, you need to sell your skills in a way that emphasizes why you’re the right candidate for the job.
3. This is an absolute ‘must’ in resume building!
Possibly the most important step in creating a resume is to spell check it before you turn it in. You might be shocked to know how many people don’t do this simple step and submit resumes littered with errors.
Don’t believe me? Ask HR at the company you work for now if they’ve ever encountered applicant resumes full of spelling mistakes. It’s one of their worst work nightmares.
A simple typo could immediately take you out of the running for your dream job. It doesn’t even matter if you are perfectly qualified.
There’s a good chance your resume doesn’t get past an ATS if it has spelling errors because it doesn’t understand what you’re trying to say. If your resume does somehow make it by the bot, the hiring manager will likely toss it because they don’t’ want someone so careless working for them.
Ask a friend or colleague to double-check your resume if you don’t trust spell-check and want to be more thorough. The second set of eyes can be more helpful than you think.
4. Formatting is your friend
When turning in a resume, you need it to look as professional as possible. Don’t spend all that time researching a company and the qualifications required by a particular job to just throw it all away on lousy formatting.
Most hiring managers and bots like the way a perfectly formatted resume looks. When it comes to the font, use size 11 and make sure it’s easy to read, like Arial, Courier or Times New Roman.
Then, use half-inch margins and ensure the document is set to left alignment. Don’t use logos, pictures or symbols in your resume. They could trip an ATS up and get your resume rejected.
Finally, the type of document file you submit is essential. You’re better off using a Word document file format than a PDF format. Bots recognize Word documents better than PDFs, so keep that in mind when building your next resume.
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