Bullet Proof your Resume

Employers are bombarded by resumes every time they post a new position. Companies have turned to a type of software called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to manage the sheer volume of resumes they receive from candidates. Having used Applicant Tracking Systems for many years I have developed some tips to increase an applicant’s chance of being selected for an interview.

Most Applicant Tracking Systems utilize a feature called resume parsing to pull pieces of information from the resume. These pieces of information are then populated into a database to allow the Human Resources department to quickly search for key words based on the job descriptions provided by the hiring managers. To increase your chance of being selected, I offer the following tips:

  • Put your entire first and last name at the top of your resume in mixed case letters. The ATS will rename the resume based on the First and Last name after it has completed parsing the information. You can’t have ten Joe.doc files in a folder. Putting all capital letters is just bad manners. It is like getting down on your knees, putting your hands together in prayer form and screaming please look at me!!!  Don’t let desperation eliminate you from the start.
  • Include your phone number at the top of your resume under your name. Some candidates put their number in the body of the email. Unfortunately, the ATS will not read the emails and the recipient may even delete the email after saving the resume. If the employer doesn’t have your number they can’t call you!
  • Include your email address at the top of your resume under your phone number. Employers will sometimes utilize email to follow up with candidates. Staffing agencies are more likely to do this than direct employers. Again the prospective employer may delete your email. It is too much work to copy and paste different fields of data from your email into the ATS.
  • Give your resume a different name than “resume.doc”. Half the resumes that I receive are named “resume.doc”. If they do want to go back and get more information from your original email they will not be able to quickly find your email if you have given it this name.
  • Create your resume with Microsoft Word. Resumes that are in .txt format are just not professional. A resume needs bullet points and bold text. Reading a resume without formatting is boring. It is like listening to a monotone speaker after a while all you hear is blah blah blah. PDF files are also not a good choice. Staffing agencies that want to send your resume to prospective clients will want to remove your contact information and include the agencies contact information. It is done very quickly and easily in MS Word documents.

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