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How to Avoid a Resume Rejection 7 Things You Need to Know About Applicant Tracking Systems

When you apply for a job online, you are most likely using a system known as an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). These technical systems are used by Human Resource departments to track and evaluate the numerous candidate resumes and cover letters that come into an organization. The following tips will ensure that your application materials include the necessary keywords and content to pass through the system. Avoid Resume Templates The layout and formatting included on resume templates can cause errors with the applicant tracking system. Avoid using stock resume templates and create your resume as a regular Microsoft Word document with simple formatting. Simple Formatting Use simple formatting in your resume and resist the temptation to add a border or add shading the background of your resume. Create section headers such as “Summary of Qualifications,” “Education,” “Related Work Experience,” and more to signify where the information is located on your resume. Incorporate bold fonts to introduce a new section and/or add underlining. Additionally, the standard for a college student or recent college graduate seeking full-time employment is a one-page resume. Clean Fonts Choose a sans serif font for your resume for a crisp, clean, easy to read look. Some of the most popular sans serif fonts include Calibri, Arial, and Tahoma. Use Keywords Applicant Tracking Systems score resumes based on keywords. The system assigns a value to each resume, assessing the qualifications and skills against what is contained in the job description.

Resumes that score the highest are passed along to a recruiter or a hiring manager for further review. Carefully read each job description before you apply and identify the primary qualifications and skills. Highlight the ones that you possess and include those key phrases and words into your resume. Document Header & Footer You may not want to place your contact information in the header or footer. It’s very tempting do this in order to ensure that it carries over to each page of your resume, but doing so may cause an error in the system. Dates Make sure to list the years of employment for every previous job or, more specifically, the month and year of both the start and departure dates. The ATS system does not pick up semester information. Since the business world operates on a 12-month calendar, showing employment dates that correspond with the business calendar instead of semesters will provide better context. Also, be sure to right justify all dates on your resume. Images, Charts & Graphs Let your experience and qualifications shine without the distraction of other objects. Do not include headshots, charts of proficiency levels or graphs in your resume, as it’s not standard practice and they can cause errors in system. Gala Jackson, M. Ed. is a Millennial Expert & Career Management Consultant with InterviewSnob, a career consulting boutique for millennials. Connect with Gala @interviewsnob and check out her website at www. interviewsnob.com


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