When you’re working on your resume, you’re likely doing so with the hiring manager in mind. But did you know many companies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) first to screen resumes?

These essentially help organizations use certain keywords and other parameters to filter out weak resumes and focus on the best-fit ones. Those are then forwarded on to the hiring manager.

So, how can you optimize your resume, so it makes it into the hands of the hiring manager? Here are 6 tips to follow:

Tip #1: Identify the best keywords to use.

Look to the company’s job description to identify the keywords that are most useful to include. Then sprinkle them into your resume in an organic way. In other words, don’t over-use them, which can make your resume sound awkward. Remember, if it gets into the hands of a hiring manager, you still want it to be reader-friendly.

Tip #2: Skip the header and foot area.

If you usually put your name and contact information in the header of the document, avoid doing so in the future. ATS software doesn’t always recognize the text in these areas. As a result, it might have a hard time scanning your resume, which could impact its fate. Simply skip this area and put all your text in the main area of the document.

Tip #3: Don’t include graphics.

ATS software also has a hard time with charts, graphs, and other visuals that are embedded within the document. If these are important to communicate to a hiring manager, then create an online portfolio and share the link on your resume.

Tip #4: Stick to simple bullet points.

Don’t use arrows or other, more elaborate bullet designs. Instead, stick with the tried-and-true classic bullet point – the solid circle. Otherwise, your resume might not be compatible with a company’s ATS software.

Tip #5: Send the right file format.

In most cases, candidates send resumes in PDF format. However, for ATS software, a Word document or a plain text file is typically best. If you are asked to send a PDF, then follow those instructions. However, if you’re given an option, send a .doc, .docx, or plain text file instead.

Tip #6: Keep the format clear.

Less is more when it comes to your resume. So don’t use an unusual format or ornate design in order to stand out. Instead, simply follow a reverse chronological template and keep your resume clear and simple.

Need more tips on creating an ATS-optimized resume?

If you’re looking to get hired but you’re not hearing back from potential employers, it might be because of your resume. At PrideStaff, we can help with every aspect of your hunt, including polishing your resume. Simply contact us today and let us help you get your foot in the door at your next great opportunity.

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