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Is your resume ATS compatible?

Most organisations (Government and non-Government), use Applicant Tracking Systems, better known as black holes where resumes and applications go to die. The hard truth is that when you apply for advertised openings, it’s unlikely that your credentials will ever be considered by a human being – much less result in an interview, unless your resume is totally ATS compliant (structure and content) and importantly, incorporates they keywords and key-phrases associated with the positions you are targeting.

Will your resume achieve interviews ?

It’s a fact, that most advertised positions attract upwards of hundreds of applications and therefore hiring organisations usually spend around six (6) seconds making a decision to read more. Your resume must create an immediate impact and that is why the first page is the ‘key’ to achieving interviews. Apart from the content, the overall look and feel of your document also creates an immediate impression – again, hiring organisations perceive your overall professionalism from the quality of the resume document you have submitted.

What we check

TEMPLATE – most ATS convert Word and PDF files into .txt documents and therefore cannot effectively interpret data which is placed in columns, tables or text-boxes.  If your resume is not a simple, one column document – it will usually be rejected.  NOTE – if your current resume does not fall into this category, you should consider investing in an ATS compliant professional resume now.

KEYWORDS/KEY-PHRASES – ATS algorithms are set up against certain singular words and phrases which are essential to the advertised position.  These will be words/phrases which are incorporated into the position advertisement itself and/or the associated formal Position Description and can include (but are not limited to) expertise related to the capabilities of the role, requisite technical skills, and ‘soft skills’ such as communication, teamwork, organisational abilities etc.

FONTS & BULLET-POINTS – most ATS prefer San Serif fonts such as Calibri, Arial, Helvetica, Verdana.  Serif fonts such as Times New Roman, Cambria, Bookman can present ‘parsing’ difficulties.  Similarly, ATS prefer simple, rounded or dashed bullet-points as other (non-conventional) types can be translated as graphic elements. 

POTENTIAL TO ACHIEVE INTERVIEWS – we not only check ATS compliance, but also the document’s potential to achieve interviews and job offers for you based on the content.  Your current resume may well be ATS compliant and passed on for human intervention, however, the content itself may not effectively promote your value proposition to hiring organisations.

Why ATS reject resumes

  1. The TEMPLATE – if it is more than one column and/or incorporates graphics and templates it will be rejected.
  2. KEYWORDS – if your resume does not incorporate the relevant keywords associated with the advertised position it will be rejected.
  3. GRAPHIC ELEMENTS – ATS convert resumes to .txt documents and cannot recognise or interpret graphic elements.
  4. FONTS – most ATS prefer san serif fonts such as Calibri, Arial, Helvetica, Verdana etc and will have difficulty with serif fonts such as Times New Roman, Cambria etc.  Similarly, most ATS cannot effectively parse reversed text (white on dark or coloured backgrounds).
  5. TABLES – most ATS cannot effectively parse data placed in tables.
  6. FORMATTING – poor formatting can cause real issues with ATS such as lack of differentiation between position titles and organisation names.
Resume Template Examples
Resume Template Examples
Resume Template Examples
Resume Template Examples

Best-practice ATS Compliant Templates

All our resume templates are Applicant Tracking System (ATS) compliant – why?  Most ATS convert Word and PDF files into .txt documents and therefore cannot effectively interpret data which is placed in columns, tables or text-boxes.  If your resume is not a simple, one column document – it will usually be rejected.  The majority of resume writing services are keen for your business and will, in most instances, offer double (or more) column documents incorporating graphics and tables.  While these may appear aesthetically pleasing, they are not, in fact, compatible with ATS and will usually be discarded and not passed on for human intervention.  The reality therefore is that despite your credentials and experience, if your resume document is not ATS compliant, you will not achieve an interview.

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