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Does Your Resume Pass this Critical Test?

They’re fueled by sophisticated data-warehousing technology. They’re horribly impersonal. And they may be determining your employment fate.

What are “they?”

We’re talking about Applicant Tracking Systems (or ATSes for short). And if you’re applying online for jobs in Middle TN – especially with large employers – there’s an excellent chance your resume will be screened by one.

But at the end of the day, you need to get in front of a real person to land the job you want! So, you need to make sure your resume passes the ATS test. Today, Wood Personnel explains what makes this technology tick, so you avoid mistakes that get you knocked out of contention:

  1. Use appropriate keywords. Customize your resume for each position to which you apply. Carefully read each job description and identify the top 5 to 10 industry- and position-specific terms related to required experience, job skills or functional expertise.
  2. Use keywords contextually, throughout your resume. While it may be more convenient to add a list of keywords to the top of your resume, ATSes have evolved beyond mere keyword-counting. You’ll be more likely to make the cut if keywords appear in the appropriate context throughout your document.
  3. Submit your resume in an approved format. In general, .doc, .docx and .txt file formats are your best bets – but be sure to comply with the requirements listed (.pdf, .rtf and .jpg formats are not ATS-friendly).
  4. Don’t choke the ATS. Pictures, graphics and logos are eye-catching to humans – but bog down resume screening technology. To increase readability, skip the fancy templates, special characters, images, borders, shading and multiple column formatting.
  5. Use a standard resume font. Arial, Georgia, Tahoma, Trebuchet and Verdana are common fonts that are generally readable by ATS software. Choose one font and stick to it throughout the document.
  6. Provide both common acronyms and full, spelled-out versions of terms (e.g., include both CPA and Certified Public Accountant).
  7. Include the job title. This may seem obvious, but it’s a simple step that can make the difference between your resume being accepted or rejected.
  8. Include descriptors. List terms like “phone” and “email” before your contact information, to ensure the ATS can readily identify this information.
  9. Use ALL CAPS to categorize the sections of your resume. Capitalizing section headers such as SUMMARY, WORK EXPERIENCE and EDUCATION makes it easy for the applicant tracking system to correctly categorize information.
  10. Check your email after you submit your resume. Many systems acknowledge submissions, but those emails may be directed to your spam folder.

In short, the easier you make it for an ATS to read and process your resume, the more likely you’ll be to pass the test – and get in front of a real person!

At Wood Personnel, you’re more than just a resume to us. We’ll take the time to meet with you in person to discuss your experience, skills and work preferences – and then match you with a great temporary or direct position. Register here or search for jobs in Middle TN.