Tips To Earn a “Like” From the Robot Reading Your Resume

By Martin Buckland - Executive Career Management Professional

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Photo Credit: © Vladislav Kochelaevs,

It’s next to impossible for a lone person in HR to screen 100% of the resumes received from a mass of applicants all vying for a single job opening. When that same HR employee is responsible for filling multiple concurrent vacancies within the organization, managing an effective and timely recruitment process involving hundreds if not thousands of applicant resumes becomes insurmountable. According to HireRight, some large companies report receiving as many as 75,000 applications in a week! That’s why companies now employ robots to lessen the burden placed on human resources.

A resume now must be designed not only for the human eye but also for the robot reading your resume. Called Applicant Tracking Systems (or ATS for short), the purpose of the software is to scan each inbound resume and make an initial accept/reject decision. If you’re wondering why you’ve submitted so many resumes and yet the phone isn’t ringing, it’s likely your resume was part of the estimated 75% that are rejected during the screening process.

While you can’t “beat” the robot, you can endeavour to “match” the screening process once you understand how the application works.

An ATS system is key word based meaning someone in HR has determined the optimal key words and key phrases a candidate should possess to effectively perform in the job. Key words are typically the job and industry specific hard skills acquired through experience and education. For more on key words, visit my blog .

You MUST ensure your resume contains the key words and key phrases the robot will be searching for. Without the right key words, your resume is toast!

The design and format of your resume also impacts the accuracy of the ATS scanning process. Craft a clean and simple resume using the following guidelines:

EXCLUDE the use of: headers; footers; graphics; shading; underlines; columns; text boxes; and don’t send your resume in PDF format.

INCLUDE: standard section headings (ie. Professional Experience / Education); in place of a header, position your name and contact information on line 1 of page 1 and name on line 1 of page 2; use web-friendly fonts (think Arial, Verdana or Tahoma); use the Borders feature to add a design element.

Sending the same resume to each job without reviewing the job description, format, and alignment of key words to the job will only extend the length of your job search. If you want to make it onto an in person interview, spend the time matching your resume to the employer needs and robot scanning process before submitting your application. It will greatly increase the odds that both the robot and the HR decision maker will “Like” your resume and advance your candidacy.



Martin Buckland, President of Elite Resumes, is a leading resume writer, career coach and job search strategist with a global clientele. Martin currently holds the following certifications: Certified Professional Branding Strategist, Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Employment Interview Professional, Job and Career Transition Coach, Certified Job Search Trainer and Co-Pilot Executive Coach. Visit my website at .

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