Get Your Resume Past the ATS (Applicant Tracking System)!

If you upload your resume to a company or job board website, you are most likely uploading your document to an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software. The ATS will scan your resume based on criteria set by the company and the hiring manager. The software will make the first decision. If your resume meets the requirements, your name will be included in a report sent to HR. If your resume doesn’t meet the criteria, you might miss out on the all-important interview!

Years ago, the ATS counted keywords and sent a report to HR. Then the HR representative looked over the list and sent the top 5 or 6 candidates to the hiring manager. So your resume went through at least two rounds of sorting and ranking before any person with actual hiring authority saw it.

Today, ATS software is much more sophisticated and will contextualize resume information based on achievements. So your resume must provide concrete, quantifiable, and qualifiable accomplishments. Whenever possible, target your resume to the position and the company by using the job description and your research into the company.

And don’t forget to use strong action verbs! Try some of these:

Achieved, Improved, Trained, Mentored, Managed, Created, Resolved, Volunteered, Increased, Decreased, Reduced, or Negotiated

And make sure to AVOID these common phrases:

Results-Driven, Detail-Oriented, Responsible For, Duties Included

Well-written bullets are accomplishment-oriented and targeted. Get specific!