A Trick To Get Your Resume Past Applicant Tracking Systems

resume applicant tracking system tricksBy Vivian Giang

When you apply for a job at a larger firm, there's a high chance that your resume will be scanned by a filtering software for words related to certain job vacancies. This kind of automation process will also reject your resume if it doesn't "meet traditional, business-dictated document formatting," writes Rick Gillis in his book Job!: Learn How to Find Your Next Job In 1 Day.

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Here are some formatting rules that Gillis says job seekers should follow to create a filtering software-friendly resume:
  • Do not place your contact information in the header of your resume, because filtering softwares can be set to ignore headers and footers so there is a risk this information will be deleted.
  • Choose a conservative font such as Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, or Calibri. Gillis says that serif fonts, such as Times Roman or Cambria may be rejected by screening software.
  • Do not use any script fonts.
  • The smallest font size to use for the body of your resume should be 11 point. "Any smaller and you're probably asking for trouble."
  • No graphics or logos.
  • Do not format using tables.
  • No borders.
  • A one-inch margin top and bottom is best.
  • Do not use any lines that cross the entire page from margin to margin, because "some filters have been created that will reject a document for nothing more than having a single line run continuously across the page," he writes.
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I have been reading a lot of these articles that detail the same information. There are a few things that I am skeptical about.
When I go through an application with the ATS, I am, most of the time, asked to upload my resume. My resume is formatted using tables. Afterwards, my resume information will be inputted into the work experience section of the online resume. While some of the information is not filled or correct, the system inputs most of my work experience correctly. I believe that the ATS has the work experience section as a way for applicants to correct their information before submitted it. Not having your resume formatted correctly is, then, much less important in these kinds of ATS systems (which I find to be the large majority).

August 10 2015 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And this is just the beginning. Applicants have to remember what to write so it fits. I am sure word scanning also takes place.ac

August 09 2014 at 3:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dusty McDonald

This was a good article but I have to agree with Lilt, Danielle, Shar, and Zaid... jobscan was definitely very helpful and as they said, it saved me a lot of time also and was very convenient. I know I got more interviews because of it. I always suggest jobscan to anyone filling out or submitting their resume since it's such a helpful site to use.

July 12 2014 at 9:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dusty McDonald's comment
Dusty McDonald

Well I said I agreed with them but now I no longer see their comments, I guess they were deleted but either way, this was a good article but jobscan was a helpful website.

July 12 2014 at 9:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good one. In a competitive job market, it's hard enough for job seekers on a steady career path to get their resumes noticed. If you are pursuing a new direction, it's all that much more difficult to convince hiring managers to take a chance on you.
Standard advice for career changers is generally to adopt a functional or skills-based CV: a detailed skills section followed by a briefer experience section. 1stsalary.blogspot.in/2013/03/some-tips-on-writing-cv-if-you-are.html

March 21 2013 at 7:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You told me nothing here. Organize your resume like a professional, who is educated beyond the first semester of college, and you have a very good chance of getting your resume past the filtering software. That's about it. OBTW - who DOES NOT put their contact information in the header of page 1, particularly if its a 1 page resume (which some companies prefer!). "Business Insider" won't be garnering much attention from your's truly.

March 06 2013 at 8:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Martin Snyder

mostly dumb advice except tables and avoiding contact info in header for some older systems. best advice? since the document is scored against the job description, just paste the key sections of the job description to the objective or goal section of your document. duh.....

March 04 2013 at 8:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Spark Hire

Really, really interesting information on how to avoid getting your resume rejected by an applicant tracking system. Indeed, knowing the tricks of how to get your resume into the system is a great way to ensure a human being actually peruses this document. You might also want to hedge your bets by taking to social media and connecting with employers in a more personal fashion. Then you can send your resume, video resume, and work portfolio directly to the source instead of watching it get gobbled up by an unfeeling ATS.

February 26 2013 at 3:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

These are the dumbest, most arbitrary reasons that software would reject a resume ever. You want to get past the automated filter? Find a contact who works there and have them submit you. Every company values internal references over external ones, internal references skip the filtering software, and most companies offer employees a referral bonus for hires.

Don't know somebody there? That's what LinkedIn is for.

February 26 2013 at 3:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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