How to Impress the Computer Reading Your Resume

December 19, 2016 | Resume Tips

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Maybe you consider yourself someone who “works well with people”; a “people pleaser.” Someone who’s charismatic, confident and has no problems with job interviews. You can please people; but what about computers?

According to the Wall Street Journal, almost all large companies use an “applicant tracking system” to sort prospective employees. About half of all mid-sized companies use them, too. That means it’s likely that your resume has to make it through this tracking system before a human ever sees it.

Often, job seekers apply online, have their materials reviewed by applicant tracking systems, and get a rejection email minutes later because they did not fit the profile set by the employer.

There’s no way to know in detail what qualifications an employer is using to screen job applicants. But there are ways to make the computers understand the skills that set an applicant apart from others. Maybe you don’t have quite five years of experience, but perhaps you make up for it with volunteer experience or a second language. That’s easy enough to explain to a person, but what about these applicant tracking systems?

Most importantly, job seekers must use the right keywords in their resumes. Find words that appear in the job description and research the company’s website for more words that are tied to its values and business.

Given that your first reader may be a machine, there’s no need to get fancy with your resume.

Never send a PDF file, because the applicant tracking system lacks a standard way to structure PDF documents.

Also, avoid using uncommon titles. For example, call “work experience” what it is: “work experience.”

These tips should help you get past the robots—and commence to people pleasing. And don’t forget to reach out to the experts at TalentBridge for all your job search needs!