What are Resume Bots? And How You Can Beat Them

What are Resume Bots? And How You Can Beat Them

These days, employers can outsource almost everything. When it comes to hiring new employees, a company might try to save time and resources by outsourcing the first step of the hiring process. Instead of having a person review resumes, they rely on a resume bot. But what is a resume bot, and what does it mean for you? Find out everything you need to know about resume bots - including how to beat them.

What are Resume Bots?

The official name for a resume bot is an applicant tracking system, or ATS. A computerized system, an ATS is often used by large companies to go through resumes. Because those companies tend to receive many applicants for each available position, they don't have the manpower to sift through every resume.

The job of the ATS is to determine which resumes are worth looking at. It looks for specific keywords and scores each resume based on how qualified a candidate seems. While this system saves companies time, it isn't all good news. If you're applying for a job, the ATS may not realize how qualified you are for the position. You could receive a lower score than you deserve.

Resume bots reject as much as 75% of resumes. Unfortunately, many of those resumes are from qualified applicants. The only reason the ATS rejects them is that they don't check off the boxes that the system is programmed to look for.

How the Bots Sift Through Resumes

While some bots are quite complicated, the ATS is as easy as it gets. It scans for keywords that correspond to skills, qualifications, and other desirable traits. If your resume does not have enough keywords, it won't make it past the scanning process.

If the application does move forward, the ATS ranks your resume based on the number of keywords in your resume. Only then will a recruiter or hiring manager reach out to you to schedule an interview. In some cases, your ranking plays a major part in how a hiring manager perceives you.  

It's possible for an ATS to store your resume for future positions. Months after you apply for a job, you could hear back from the employer. Even if you've never applied for a job, an ATS could scan a social media site and tag you as a suitable job applicant.

How to Beat the ATS

If you want to increase your chances of making it past the resume bot, you can follow the following tips:

Change Your Resume Format

Even excellent resumes get rejected by the ATS. One common reason for rejection is improper formatting. At times, ATSs are set up to automatically reject PDFs and word documents. To ensure the ATS will accept your format, you should switch to a text file. .TXTs are widely accepted by ATSs.

You may also want to change the format of your font. When you use a specialty font, the system can't process your words. For the best results, use Arial or Times New Roman.

Limit Visual Effects

Although pictures and graphics might impress a potential employer, they will confuse the ATS. There are some ATSs that can process pictures and graphics, but the majority of them struggle with images. If you use too many design elements in your resume, the ATS will struggle to read your content. Avoid using too many design elements or pictures in your resume.

Edit Your Resume

Whether or not you want to appease the ATS, you should edit your resume. While a hiring manager may be willing to overlook grammar mistakes and misspelled words, an ATS won't. It may deny your resume for a few minor mistakes.

In addition to reading over your resume, you should also use an online tool to check for spelling and grammar errors. Your resume will be more professional and less likely to be rejected by the ATS.

Use Section Headers

Using headers in your writing makes it easier for people to digest the information you write. Likewise, using headers in your resume makes it easier for the ATS to comprehend what you wrote.

When using headers, keep things simple. The system won't understand a long and detailed header. For the best chance of success, use basic headings that describe the section in one or two words.

Include Keywords

As mentioned before, the ATS looks for keywords. Think about what words a potential employer might care about. Then, use those words in your resume. Be wary of overusing keywords, as this could cause the system to reject you. As a general rule of thumb, use no more than four keywords every 100 words.

It's up to you to pick out the right keywords. First, consider what skills pertain to the position. A customer service applicant could use the keywords "customer service" and "communication." Meanwhile, a position as a computer programmer would require different keywords.

If you read through the job listing, you might come across some important keywords. What skills does the employer want? On your resume, include some of the skills and qualifications listed on the job posting.

It's worth noting that the ATS favors hard skills over soft skills. So, while soft skills belong on your resume, it's crucial to include hard skills. If you don't already have your credentials or technical skills on your resume, be sure to add them.

Can You Defeat the Resume Bots?

There are ways in which you can make your resume more appealing to resume bots. However, you shouldn't obsess over making your resume ATS-friendly. Doing so could leave you with an unremarkable resume.

When it comes to getting by the ATS, balance is key. You want your resume to be basic and optimized enough to rank well by the ATS. But you also want it unique and creative enough to stand out to the hiring manager.

With a little work, you can find the right balance. Once you make it past the resume bot, the rest of it is in your hands.

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