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Beat The Bot: 3 Steps To Optimise Your Resume For An ATS

Your resume is probably one of the most important documents in your life. While writing it, you’re probably picturing a hiring manager giving the affirmative nod and raising an eyebrow over your impressive experience.

*record scratch* Sorry to burst your bubble, but chances are, your resume might go through an applicant tracking system (ATS) way before a hiring manager sees it … if they ever do 😳

An ATS is a software application widely used by employers to electronically collect and sort through throngs of incoming job applications. These systems are a Hiring Manager’s best friend; an ATS helps to sift through thousands of resumes in mere minutes!

Simply put, bots are screening your resume as a first layer of filter. It may sound scary, but an ATS is undoubtedly effective, especially when hiring managers are filling several roles concurrently and receive tons of applications at any given time.

Whether the hiring manager ever sees your resume could really depend on how optimised your resume is for their ATS algorithms. Which is why, on the flip side, it’s important for you to keep the ATS in mind when you’re crafting your resume. Here are three simple steps to beat the bots and get your resume through the ATS 🤖💥👊

1. Study the job post

These days, applying for a job online is such a fast and easy affair that many unqualified applicants figured “I’ve got nothing to lose.” 💁 Whip up your phone and it’s a one-touch application; on Wantedly, it’s the “Want to Visit” button, and on LinkedIn, there’s the “Easy Apply” button. Cast your net wide enough and you might just stand a chance, right? Not quite 🙅

As a job applicant, you need to think of the application process as not just a numbers game. Instead, you should apply to companies that resonate with you, and only for roles that you know can challenge you and grow your skills.

Here’s how some ATS work: Based on algorithms, the ATS will compare your resume against the corresponding job post and allocate a score, depending on how much it matches up to the job description. The first step to beating the system is to really study the job post for its keywords under the responsibilities section or the required technical knowledge. Then, plug in these standout keywords throughout your resume.

2. Inject keywords into your resume

Once you have identified the keywords, be strategic about where you are going to place them in your resume. Insert relevant keywords into the most relevant sections. For example, if a job description is seeking skill sets in JavaScript or Photoshop, make sure you insert those skills—the exact words from the job posting—into your resume.

If you have the skill, make absolutely sure it’s mentioned in your resume. This step could be time-consuming, but that 15 minutes you invest in tailoring your resume for a particular job could reap huge gains 🙌💯

3. Remember the human after the bot

You’ve completed steps one and two, and your revamped resume is A+. Now what? It’s time to review it and see if your keyword-laden resume would appeal to a human! Remember, passing through the ATS is just part of a preliminary application process, and your resume will ultimately fall into human hands.

We all love a good hack, but if you’re just inserting relevant keywords for the sake of the ATS, the HR Manager left to evaluate your resume will not have the best impression of you. Be truthful and make sure every skill and experience and you’ve listed are not just a smokescreen 🤦‍♀️

Not-so fun fact: Even Google hates (and punishes) this trick of blindly stuffing keywords for SEO—worse still if it’s sneakily incorporated in white-coloured text!

Got a resume that’s ready to impress both robots and humans? Upload it here and begin your journey to finding a job you’ll love 👉

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