Get Your Resume Past the ATS

As technology has advanced, so has it’s involvement in the hiring process. Hiring managers no longer have to pick through hundreds of resumes by hand. The applicant tracking system (ATS) has taken care of that.

Many job seekers are unaware exactly how many companies use an ATS to screen resumes before they’re ever read by a human. As the technology becomes cheaper to use, the number of companies will increase every year.

What ATS do with Your Resume?

Applicant Tracking Systems are designed to screen resumes for what are considered the requirements for the position, including education, experience, and other factors, such as security clearance. These systems routinely reject 75 percent of the resumes submitted on average. Most of those resume are rejected because they’re not optimized for an ATS scan.

Tips To Ensure Your Resume Gets Past An ATS

Use a standard resume format so that the ATS can read your resume. Stick to the traditional chronological, functional, or hybrid resume format. Be sure to avoid using headers or footers, as those tend to be cut off.

Avoid Fancy Designs and Images

This is an extremely common mistake because people tend to think only of impressing the hiring manager, the person, at the end of the resume search. Using fancy colors, designs, and fonts are a problem for resumes to get past the ATS, so be sure to impress the hiring manager with your resume content instead of it’s design.

Send the Correct File Format

While some systems are getting more sophisticated, the majority of ATS still require either a Microsoft Word Document or a .pdf format. Avoid sending anything else unless you’re certain that the company’s ATS is able to read it. Be sure to check the job description to see if there’s any instructions as to format.

Spellcheck and Spell Out Your Abbreviations

Besides making sure that the basics like spellcheck aren’t replacing words with what you intend (thank you, autocorrect) but also be sure to spell out any acronyms. While a human understands that R.N. stands for “registered nurse”, you can’t guarantee that the ATS does. Make sure your resume is seen by writing out what each acronym stands for at least once on your resume, even if it’s under the Skills section or in a bullet point list.

Work That Job Title

This tip only applies to those staying in the same field. If possible, included the job title on your resume to match as closely as the position you’re applying for. For example, if you’re experienced in business development and you’re applying for a senior business position, writing “Senior Business Developer” will get you further through the ATS than simply “Business Developer” or “Experienced Business Developer”.

Utilize Your File Name to the Fullest

Before saving your resume, be sure to include your entire name in the file name and the word “resume”. For example, instead of saving your resume as: “Resume.Final.2020“, save it with your name instead: Jane.Doe.Resume.Aerospace.Engineer. Hiring managers receive far too many resumes under the title “resume” and yours can get lost in the shuffle. Include your first and last name, what document it is, and what position you’re applying for. Make sure they find your resume!

Check Before Applying

Before you click ‘send’, you can compare your resume to the job openings you’d like to apply to, and get the feedback you need. This impersonal feedback is coming from a computer, but that’s the system you’re trying to get past. Make sure to compare and contrast and your resume will make it past the 70% removal rate in no time.

6 Steps to Translating Military Experience to a Civilian Resume

Assume the Employer Doesn’t Understand Anything About Your Military Resume

Write your resume and cover letter with this in mind, no matter what. Avoid military jargon and make things clear for them. While staffing agencies are full of people experienced in this, most future civilian employers probably won’t know their meaning. When you explain skills, experiences, and what your military job entailed, future employers will understand how you’d help out, even if they don’t understand the title.

Provide a Complete Picture

Explain your technical skills, such as understanding communications gear. Try to use examples where your interpersonal skills would be useful. Explain about being under stressful situations or taking direction from leadership or leading a team through a project. When going into an interview, you’re often up against a college graduate whose idea of teamwork is limited to a group project online or a presentation. This area is where military soft skills give you the strongest advantage. “Teamwork skills” means something different when you have to collaborate with someone else for every assigned task for several years, and “works well under pressure” means something completely different.

Ask About the Hiring Process

Depending on the company, hiring a new employee can be extremely quick or take several weeks or longer, depending on the position. Never assume that you know how that particular company works internally.

Stay In The Same Field

While you may be tired of your career, keep in mind that the civilian version will be a more comfortable version of the same work. It will be easier to translate those same skills, abilities, and experiences, and also help you make the transition to civilian life on a daily basis.

Be Patient

There’s no such thing as a perfect resume or perfect cover letter, so don’t take it personally if the phone doesn’t start ringing immediately. While your past assignments had clear-cut results, applying for work is much less defined. Make sure to apply to as many positions as you are even slightly interested in and then either email or call those places directly to make sure they received your application and resume.

Are you a veteran looking for work? Try our Veteran’s Talent Network

Need to leverage your resume further? Try 3 Ways You Can Leverage Your Resume Beyond The Interview

Been awhile since an interview? Brush up with How Do You Know If Your Interview Skills Are Good Or Bad?

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