Some resumes may never be read… no matter how amazing they are! You could be the President of the United States and still not get your resume seen if it’s not scannable by the applicant tracking system. ATS doesn’t discriminate! So let’s walk through three super simple tips that you can easily implement today to optimize your resume and make sure it’s completely scannable. By the way, if you’re confused already, let me catch you up to speed. Every resume that gets submitted online goes through what’s called an Applicant Tracking System, which is just a fancy way of saying that a computer scans your resume. The system will then automatically give your resume a score based on certain keywords and phrases picked up, which determines whether or not you’re considered a top match for the position! Since a computer is basically the first set of eyes to see your resume, we want to make sure you are as computer-friendly as possible. You can watch the video below or continue reading along to catch these 3 quick tips to make sure your resume gets seen.
3 Quick Tips to Make Sure Your Resume Gets Seen
Tip #1: Follow the One-Column Layout
A lot of the applicant tracking systems out there can’t actually read and pick up and scan a two-column resume. It’s much easier for them to extract information from a one-column layout since the main chunk text is not split up. There are so many beautiful resume templates and designs out there that follow the two-column layout and that’s actually really great if you are physically handing your resume to somebody since it tends to be visually appealing. If you’re really set on having a two-column resume, you can absolutely do so for any in-person interviews. Just stick to one-column formats for your digital resume that you’ll be submitting online.
RELATED: HOW TO WRITE AN EFFECTIVE RESUME
Tip #2: Use Traditional Fonts
For those who appreciate design, there are a lot of pretty resume templates out there. But you’ll notice a lot of them have very ornate customized fonts that come with them. A lot of the systems can’t actually read and scan these specialized fonts, which doesn’t help your case of being found and seen. When a system can’t read the text on your resume, it shows up as completely blank on the other side. So if you are using anything other than the nontraditional fonts like Arial, Helvetica, or Times New Roman, then I highly recommend you switch over to something that is more traditional that every software system is integrated with. It’s not necessarily the time to be super creative and try to wow anyone with your design skills, but instead to choose something that will be readable through the tracking systems.
Tip #3: Remove Text Boxes
My final tip for you is to remove any text boxes. This is super popular with those two-column layouts because you need those text boxes to ensure that nothing is moving around but instead stays aligned perfectly. That’s another reason why I would recommend the one-column layout so you can just type as if it’s a normal document instead of having your text divided up into several sections. If you want really clear breakers and headers within your one-column layout, you can use dividers or boxes that allow you to shade in. This allows you to still stand out and still have a visual component and clear headers, but at the same time still be scannable and readable.
By the way, if you want to test out how compatible your resume is with ATS systems, be wary of any free online service that claims to offer your resume a score. Often times these companies make money off of giving you a lower score and offering to improve it for you. If you follow these three guidelines, you should be good to go. I promise that you’ll get more increases and more visibility! But a quick tip that you can do to test this out for free is to just apply to any position online with your resume and see if your resume information is being auto-filled into the different fields on that application system. If you’re constantly having to improve, customize or tweak different sections like your email, phone number, experience, or education, then it means that the system and the software hasn’t recognized and detected those fields automatically.
So just go through the three quick tips and you’ll be on your way to being more visible through this process. If you would like access to my free ATS-Friendly resume templates, click here to get access to my free resource library. And if you would like more comprehensive, customized job search support, click here to learn more about my programs.