Tips For Creating A Resume That Will Beat the Bots

March 28, 2020

Getting your resume in front of a recruiter or an HR manager is no simple task. These days with so much competition, it’s easy for your CV to get lost in the crowd.

With many organizations also using applicant tracking software (ATS) to filter through resumes, it’s getting even tougher to get yours to the top. ResumeBuild notes that it’s easier to land your dream job with the perfect resume. 

So what can you do to beat the ATS bot? Here is what they look for:


What Does an ATS Do?

Over 98% of Fortune 500 companies are estimated to use applicant tracking software. Based on the sheer load of documents they receive for every role, a human can’t sift through and find the worthy ones. 

ATS is the gateway to finding the right person. It will reject any applications that don’t meet a strict set of criteria. Your job is to make sure your CV is the one that meets all of these.

What Does it Look For?

The short answer here is ‘keywords.’ Before you go and start stuffing your CV with keywords, be cautious. The ATS will catch on to any overload and reject you too.

Bots love action words. ‘Led”, “solved,” and “outperformed” are the verbs that get your resume through.

The trick to knowing what keywords to use it to study the job ad and find out what they need you to say. Repeat these keywords 2-3 times throughout the resume, ensuring at least one of the times falls under the education or experience sections.

What to Avoid

Pretty pictures, charts, custom fonts, and bullet lists may appeal to human readers, but bots hate them. Stick to universal fonts and keep your CV looking clean and professional.

Another tip, submit your resume in Microsoft Word format. PDFs are great, however some ATS software views this as one big picture and skips vital data. It’ll head to the reject pile! As for missing information, don’t include essential details in headers and footers; most likely, it’ll get overlooked too.

Be Specific

For every job you apply for, your CV must match. If you send out generic, even keyword compliant, CVs, you’ll keep getting rejected.

Understand the position you ‘re applying for, check for the correct terminology, and tailor your resume accordingly. Keywords must be exact; for example, the project manager and project managed, are not the same thing. Get this right, and you’ll sail right through the bot.


A Bot Beating Secret

Here’s something not everyone knows. ATS software is designed to approve or reject your CV, not your cover letter. Here you can catch the attention of a person by providing the wow factor to get you noticed. 

Once again, don’t go overboard and pad this document too heavily. Be professional and articulate. 

Don’t Forget the Recruiter

Finally, and very importantly, when preparing your resume to get through the ATS, ensure it’s also appealing to the person who’ll ultimately read it. You still want them to get a clear picture of who you are, without it all seeming too robotic. It’s a fine line, but one that you need to manage well.

Don’t Despair

When creating your resume the next time around, keep these tips in mind. While these look like a lot of things to overcome to get your best quality CV, don’t worry. Many websites out there can help create resumes that can get through the bots.

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1 Comment

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    […] If you’re struggling to secure a job interview at this time I have also written a post about writing cover letters and CVs. […]

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