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If You Must Use The Applicant Tracking System (VIDEO)


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter explains how to format your resume if you must apply through the applicant tracking system.


If you have to apply, if you choose to apply to an applicant tracking system, don't do these things:

1. Don't send the PDF. Applicant tracking system still have a standard way of deciphering the PDF so that they try to do is extract information from the document and provide a summary that suggests who they would choose the interview. With PDFs being in a typical format for many systems, they will be making mistakes. When they make mistakes, you are at risk of being rejected. Don't use a PDF

2. No tables. No graphics. Again, because it is an atypical format there are issues with how a table or graphic can be processed. It "hurts" and thus you are risk of being rejected.

3. The base resume as you like but, recognize that what you did back in The Stone Ages isn't important to employers. Yes, the data may be there. But even when you get in front of the person, you may be rejected based upon this being old information. If you have to take the resume and make it more thorough, not longer but thorough, do it. But, recognize that the older the information is , the less attractive it is to employer.

4. I'm told that the way you label your experience on your resume should be as "Work Experience," because systems like that language because it is a key to them as to what to look for. "Professional Experience" is not the language that they want; they want, "Work Experience."

5. This is a formatting thing for the systems. The way you format it is with employer name, your title and date. You don't do title then date off to the side and that employer name underneath it. You want to start off with employer name because the system is looking for that, your title and then date. The system can extracted very easily.

If you have to apply it through an ATS this is how you do it. If you insist on doing it your way, you're making a big mistake.

I also have a video that talks about dealing with applicant tracking systems and defeat the ATS by making your real experience clear.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching. He is the host of “Job Search Radio” and “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” both available through iTunes and Stitcher.

Are you interested in executive job search coaching, leadership coaching or life coaching from me?  Email me at [email protected] and put the word, “Coaching” in the subject line.

Do you have a question you would like me to answer? Pay $25 via PayPal to [email protected] offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.  

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