When resumes come into many company, whether electronically or on paper, they are entered into an applicant tracking system (ATS), a software program that searches for keywords that apply to the open job position.
You might think in that case that you should simply submit of list of words to beat the ATS at its own game: “You want words, here are words.” That may have worked with the oldest ATS systems; the newer systems look for context. They look for the position of the keyword (in the far past of your career or recently) and may even examine the surrounding words for a hint that you are actually familiar with the subject.
I recently had a conversation with Jon Ciampi, President of Preptel Corporation. His company has a product that uses algorithms and software from ATS systems to parse resumes and then allow people to see how their resumes compare with the competition’s.
He emphasizes that you can put sections of your resume in any order (Summary, Experience, Education or Summary Education, Experience) but the way those sections are formatted can become a huge roadblock. With too much formatting or the wrong formatting, your resume content may be ignored by the ATS. That’s one reason why Robin’s Resumes® pays close attention to formatting.
Jon says, “PDF is error prone as data structure is not standardized. PDF saves data as an image and requires a converter to translate it into text. This process causes many issues and is inaccurate. While ATS systems can accept PDF files, Word or ASCII is still the best document type. Graphics, tables, images, and charts should all be avoided. These items are usually interpreted incorrectly and can cause the process to fail, discarding the entire resume.”
We’ll talk more about ATS systems next week. In the meantime, if you are concerned about your resume, please contact me.