If you’re a job seeker, chances are you’ve been applying for jobs online. Whether you’re aware of it or not, chances are that your resume is being filtered through an applicant tracking system before it ever even has the opportunity to reach a human being.
As we discussed in a previous post, most companies in today’s hiring world send resumes through applicant tracking systems before they ever get read by human eyes. While it might not be very beneficial to job seekers, an ATS helps the company to create efficiencies in the hiring process.
Job seekers who are unaware of ATS are often baffled when they spend countless hours submitting their resume online, only to hear nothing in return. Even people with good work experience and strong employment backgrounds can slip through the cracks.
However, you can prevent this from happening simply by changing the format of your resume. According to an article by San Francisco Chronicle, most job seekers are familiar with the three traditional resume formats, which include chronological, functional and curriculum vitae. However, those applying for jobs online should use a new resume format, called the plain text resume.
While a plain text resume is often not pleasant to the human eye, software tracking systems are drawn to the format, as long as it includes specific keywords outlined in the job posting. Keywords are usually phrases, industry terms and technical skills an employer is interested in.
When creating a plain text resume, you also should embed keywords throughout the document, including in your summary, accomplishments, education, certification and role descriptions sections. Plain text resumes should be written in a simple font, such as Times New Roman or Arial. In addition, headings, employers’ names and job titles should be capitalized to help them better stand out.