Special to Quintessential Careers
The series of articles accompanying our Annual Report: Have Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) “Ruined” Recruiting, Hiring, and Job Search? include Applicant Tracking Systems 101: Understanding the ATS Technology That Dominates Online Job Search and Optimizing and Formatting Your Resume for Applicant Tracking Systems.
This handy job-seeker checklist and set of critical do’s and don’ts summarizes some of the key information in the series.
| My job-search resume…
Critical Do’s and Don’ts Related to Applicant Tracking Systems
- When applying for a specific position, do use that job title on the resume.
- Do include the descriptor “phone:” and “email:” in front of the phone number and email address so the ATS can identify this information.
- When listing dates for employment or education, do list dates to the right of the information.
- Do consider including section headers in ALL CAPS to make it easy for the applicant tracking system to categorize the information.
- If you are working toward a degree or certification that is a requirement for the position, do include it on the resume — but make sure you include a phrase such as “Pursuing (name of credential)” or “Degree anticipated (date).”
- Do check your email after applying for a position online. Some applicant tracking systems acknowledge submissions, but these automated responses may be diverted to your spam folder.
- Do be mindful of special characters and accents you use on your resume. Some words and phrases can be misinterpreted by an applicant tracking system — for example, accented words. The word “resume” itself is not ATS-friendly. The ATS does not recognize the accented letters. Instead, it reads it as “r?sum?.”
- Don’t list your credentials (MBA, CPA, etc.) next to your name. Include that information on a separate line.
- Don’t include skills you don’t possess on the resume as an attempt to “trick” the applicant tracking system into selecting you. (Remember, the resume will eventually be reviewed by a human.)
- Don’t mix different fonts and sizes in your resume.
- Don’t submit multiple resumes to the same company. Applicant tracking systems have a memory — all those previous submissions remain in the system. You can apply to multiple, related positions, but make sure the resume information is consistent (i.e., the number of years in a particular job, for example), because the hiring manager will have access to the other versions too.
Gain additional insights into how you can improve your resume and succeed with ATS using these free Applicant Tracking System Tools for Job-Seekers.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
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