Fix your Resume for Online Systems: Video

Check out this helpful video on what to consider when uploading your resume into online recruitment systems. Understand the simple rules of what to include and what to avoid so that your resume is accepted and noticed by recruiters. One tip: trying to ‘game the system’ won’t help you in the end!

Here’s the video transcription:

You’ve likely noticed that many  companies are asking job applicants to apply through an online process rather then simply send their resumes through email. The software used in the online process is known as Applicant Tracking Software, and it’s being used more and more by recruiters to help manage the large volume of resumes they receive.

As an applicant, you need to make sure your resume is accepted into these systems and ends up at the top of the list. To do this, you have to make your resume fits the requirements of today’s digital hiring world.

To start, understand that the first person to read your resume isn’t a human, it’s a computer. Computers read a different language, meaning the fancy formatting you use in your layout can get in the way. The software will extract the information from your resume so recruiters will only see the text, not the original font or layout. Follow these guidelines to make sure your resume can be read and understood by the computer as well as people.

First, pay close attention to the requirements when asked to upload your resume. Is your file an accepted file type? Does it have too many pages? Review your resume and follow these formatting rules:

  1. Do not use images: computers cannot see images, and so these will either not be imported when your resume is uploaded, or the upload will fail.
  2. Do not use tables: tables make the layout look great on a printed resume, but the order of information may be incorrect when uploaded. Watch out for online resume creator tools, as they often use tables to entirely format the resume: not good!
  3. Do not put anything in the header or footer sections.
  4. Do not use a template file to create your resume: word processing programs add a lot of extra coding behind the scenes that cannot be read by recruiting software.
  5. Keep your formatting simple by using left justification, a single column and standard bullets.
  6. Use standard section titles such as Work Experience, Objective, Skills and Education. Don’t get creative with names here, as the software won’t be able to interpret them.

The simpler your resume is, the easier a software program can read it. Eliminate the extras, like images and tables, and your file will be uploaded with no problems.

Now that your resume is formatted to be accepted by an online system, you want it to rank you at the top. You may have seen other advice saying you should fill your resume with the same keywords as used in the job description. The closer your resume matches the job description, the higher you will rank, right? Well, not so fast. Closely matching your resume to the job description isn’t a good idea for two reasons: first, real humans will be reading your resume. Recruiters can see right away that you copied the job description, and will not be impressed. Second, as systems become smarter, they look for the meaning behind the text, and for synonyms and other information that make you a good fit for the job, so it’s not just about matching exact keywords.

It’s a very good idea to have some keywords that are the same, but use your own words and sentence structure as well, because in the end, it’s a human being you have to impress.