For more tips like the ones below, read ZipRecruiter CEO Ian Siegel’s new book, Get Hired Now! You can buy it here.
Here’s a stat you may not know: over 75% of resumes submitted online are read by a robot before they are ever seen by a human. IF they are ever seen by a human.
That’s because most employers use Applicant Tracking Systems, a type of artificial intelligence that parses resumes to find what they consider to be the most qualified candidates.
At ZipRecruiter, we use that technology, so we know what works–and doesn’t–when it comes to creating a resume that can get your application past these robots and into the hands of a human recruiter.
1. Use a Plain, Boring Resume Template
Conventional wisdom may say that your resume should be eye-catching and exciting, but the truth is that robots aren’t big design fans. They read from left to right, top to bottom, and only know how to read certain fonts and formats. This may sound counterintuitive, but use the most boring, straightforward template you can find. Leave out columns, tables, headers, footers, text boxes, logos, and non-standard fonts. Use a “Minimalist ATS-Friendly” template rather than a designed one to make sure it can be read.
2. Use Generic Job Titles
Many companies get cute with their internal job titles: sandwich artists, teammates, crewmembers. Robots aren’t really interested in cute. But they do love a perfect match, which is why you should write your past job titles on your resume using generic terms that everyone understands. A good way to do this is by going to a job site like ZipRecruiter and finding job descriptions that match your current role. Of course, be careful not to inflate or change your role into something that’s not representative of your work.
3. Write Like a Caveman
Again, you’re not trying to impress people with your writing. The goal of this resume is to get past the robots. Do that by being succinct about the work you did. Additionally, the resume parsers will pull applicable snippets of your resume to pass on to recruiters, so you want those pieces to be simple and easy to follow. Instead of writing something like “Answered, transferred, conferenced, and forwarded audio communications for over 24 incoming and outgoing exchanges”, simply say “Answered and redirected company’s 25 phone lines”. It’s simpler for the robots. And the humans.
4. Use Numbers
Numbers have impact. They help quantify your successes. Rather than just listing the tasks you performed, use numbers to capture the scale of your accomplishments. It goes a long way in showing that you’re a results-orientated employee who can deliver.
5. One Million Anything
If numbers have impact, “one million” is the number that can’t be ignored. One million is a number that jumps off the page. Try and use it any way you can. Whether it’s a budget you managed, the number of customers who came through your store, or visits to a website, “one million” helps you stand out.
6. List Your Skills
Make sure you include your skills and any training or certifications you’ve received. And be as specific as possible. At this point, everyone has experience with Microsoft Office. But if you give examples of the experience you have, such as “Microsoft Excel revenue model building,” that will go a lot farther in making you stand out. It can also be helpful to list the number of years of experience you have with each of your skills.
7. Check Your Spelling and Grammar
This seems like an easy one, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t do it. It’s really simple for the robots to clean up these errors before delivering resumes to recruiters, but recruiters prefer to see the typos left in. It’s a way for them to see whether applicants can pay attention to detail and present themselves professionally. So be sure to proofread your resume, then ask a friend or two to have a look as well.
8. Give It the Robot Test
Now that you’ve written your resume for the robots, upload it to a site like ZipRecruiter to test how well the site reads it and converts it into an online job seeker profile. Any good job site will show you what it is able to extract from your resume and which parts it can’t read. If a job search site’s resume parser can’t read your resume, go back to step #1 and fix it.