Are Robots Reading Your Resume?

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Get your resume past ATS and into human hands
ATSs are routinely sifting through 100s of resumes on a daily basis. How can you get yours past them and into human hands?

Today, your resume is just one of the many digital resumes inundating companies and hiring managers.

As a result, more and more companies are relying on Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to help manage the heavy workload. These systems can sift through thousands of applications to identify promising candidates in a fraction of the time it takes their human counterparts.

In this article, we discuss why so many companies are turning to ATSs to compliment recruiting efforts and provide a few tips to help job seekers get their resumes past the robots and in front of human decision-makers.  

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Why Are Robots Reading Resumes?

Online portals have made it incredibly easy for people to apply for jobs, which have put a strain on HR departments in companies of all sizes. According to an ERE survey, corporate job openings attract 250 resumes; a majority of which represent unqualified candidates. When coupled with the fact that a bad hire can cost an employer $15k, it becomes apparent why ATS use has increased significantly.

Over the next five years, the ATS market is expected to grow at an 8% annual growth rate from $1.2B to $1.8B. Among Fortune 500 companies, 98% use Applicant Tracking Systems today and have de-emphasized human hiring. Overall, only 30% of all resumes actually get in front of humans.

ATSs are software-based talent management systems that automate specific recruiting tasks such as processing job applications, scheduling interviews, and screening resumes. Now, human hiring managers no longer flip through hundreds of CVs. Instead, ATSs quickly scan resumes that have been submitted through an online portal, filter for qualified applicants, and rank them in order of their fit for a job opening.

Advances in machine learning and AI are helping ATSs overcome some of their historical shortcomings. Previously, applicants needed to include specific keywords in their resumes that were relevant to the job posting to pass the initial screening. Now, more advanced recruiting robots can carry out human recruiter intent much more effectively and understand when a candidate is a potentially good hire, regardless of whether or not their resume contains titles or experience that exactly match the language in the job description.

These systems do, however, still have their drawbacks. It’s important to remember that resume-scanning robots are just following code written by human programmers who carry their own biases. If a programmer holds the belief that Ivy League graduates make better hires, then the systems they create will likely carry that same bias. ATSs also can’t “sell” like a human recruiter can, which means that robots are very unlikely to take over talent acquisition from start to finish. 

5 tips to get your resume into human hands

So How Do You Get Your Resume In Front Of Humans?

As a job seeker, there are certain things to keep in mind as you refresh your resume to improve its chances of making it through the robot screening process.

  1. Make sure that your resume includes keywords that are relevant to the job description. Not all ATSs are equipped with the machine learning and AI capabilities necessary to pick-up on relevant experience that is worded differently.
  2. No fancy fonts, abbreviations, or graphics. You want your resume to be as easy to evaluate as possible for robot eyes. Use traditional fonts and spell everything out so that ATSs can extract meaning from every part of your CV.
  3. Proper punctuation and correct spelling are still essential. Resumes with errors will be thrown out.
  4. Nix the “career objective” statement at the top of your resume and replace that valuable digital real-estate with a results-focused executive summary section. This could be a few bullets written directly to the job description, thus giving you a chance to pack targeted and relevant experience in one place.
  5. DO NOT submit your resume as a pdf file. Some Applicant Tracking Systems cannot read this file type, which would instantly eliminate you from consideration. Stick to word documents for both your resume and cover letter.

If you are interested in reading more tips, HireRight has a helpful infographic that summarizes the Do’s and Don’ts of resume writing for robot eyes.

What Are Your Thoughts?

The recruiting world has evolved significantly as a result of technological advances and increased resume traffic. While most best-practices still apply (mind your grammar, check for spelling errors, etc.), it’s also imperative to consider the changing landscape when selecting a format that is also “robot friendly.”  

Quality resumes take time. Period. And while ATSs are far from perfect, they are likely the initial gatekeepers to your professional growth. As technology continues to develop alongside an ever-shifting economy and job market, a higher level of resume awareness is crucial if you want to maximize your chances of landing that next big job.

How do you feel about the use of ATSs to evaluate candidates?

Did we miss anything? What other tips do you have to help job seekers land their resumes in front of human eyes?

Let us know your thoughts below!