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11 ways to get your resume through cyberspace and in front of a human

So, you're applying for a job? It can be tough out there with so many job seekers these days. To help companies manage the influx of resumes, they've started using Resume Automatic Tracking Systems (ATS) to narrow down the pool of job candidates. In this post, we'll talk about what an ATS is and how you can increase your chances of getting your resume past it to score an interview.

What is a Resume Automatic Tracking Systems (ATS)?

A resume automatic tracking system or ATS, is like a robot that reads resumes for recruiters and helps companies quickly sort through resumes and find the most qualified candidates. The ATS looks for important details like education, work experience, skills, and other qualifications. Then, it stores all that info in a database and ranks the resumes based on how well they match the job description. In other words, it's what decides whether your resume is seen by an actual human.

Benefits of ATS

Using an ATS saves time and effort for both job seekers and recruiters. Recruiters can easily scan resumes using the software, which filters out the resumes that dont seem like a good fit. Job seekers can use keywords and relevant information to increase their chances of being selected.

ATS Challenges

While an ATS has its benefits, there are some downsides, too. Sometimes the software doesn't recognize certain keywords or information that's not in the standard resume format. This can lead to good candidates being rejected. Another challenge is that an ATS can't evaluate soft skills like communication and interpersonal skills, which are important for some jobs.

How to get your resume through the ATS

1. Use Relevant Keywords

One of the most important things you can do to get past the ATS is to use relevant keywords in your resume. This means using industry-specific terms and phrases, as well as the job title and company name. To find the right keywords, read the job description and tailor your resume accordingly. But don't go overboard with the keywords or you'll look like a spam bot.

2. Keep Formatting Simple

While a fancy resume might look cool, it can confuse the ATS. To avoid this, keep your formatting simple and use standard fonts and margins. Avoid using images, tables, and columns, as they can cause issues with the ATS. Use bullet points to highlight your achievements and make your resume easy to scan.

3. Customize Your Resume

I know, this part can be a pain in the...neck. But customizing your resume for each job application can drastically improve your chances of getting past the ATS. This means tailoring your resume to match the requirements of the posted job description.

Highlight your relevant skills and experience, and include specific achievements that align with the job requirements. This will show the ATS and the hiring manager that you're the perfect fit for the role. For help with this process check out Simply copy/paste a job description of a position you are interested in, then paste a copy of your resume into the system. Jobscan will let you know what needs to be tweaked and how to tweak it for the best chance of getting to the next step in the application process.

4. Use Spell Check

Spelling and grammar errors can hurt your chances of getting past the ATS. Use spell check and grammar check tools to ensure your resume is error-free. You can Google "free grammar check" and several options will come up including and But don't just rely on these tools since they don't catch everything. Be sure to proofread your resume multiple times, and have a trusted friend do the same if possible, to make sure it's perfect.

5. Avoid Using Creative Section Titles

While creative section titles might look cool, they can confuse the ATS. Use standard section titles such as "Work Experience," "Education," and "Skills." This will ensure the ATS can easily identify the different sections of your resume.

6. Use Bullet Points

Using bullet points to highlight your achievements and skills can make your resume easy to scan for both the ATS and the hiring manager. Use clear and concise language and avoid using long paragraphs.

7. Use Standard File Formats

Using standard file formats such as PDF and Microsoft Word can help your resume get past the ATS. Avoid using file formats that the ATS may not recognize, such as JPEG or PNG which are better suited for graphics.

8. Avoid Using Graphics

Graphics and images may look impressive to humans, but they can cause issues with the ATS. The ATS may not recognize the images or may not be able to read the text within the image. It helps to avoid using graphics and stick to simple formatting. Then if someone requests that you send your resume directly, feel free to share the fancy version.

9. Tailor Your Resume to the Company

Tailoring your resume to the company can show the ATS and the hiring manager that you're a good fit for the company culture. Research the company and include information that aligns with their values and mission.

10. Proofread Your Resume

Proofread your resume multiple times to ensure it's error-free. An ATS will reject resumes with too many errors, even if they're otherwise well-qualified.

11. Follow up with a human

Once you've identified the jobs and submitted your freshly edited resume, always try to follow up with a human. Follow up, follow up, follow up! With so many resumes coming in, at least if you follow up with a human, you can get on their radar with or without the help of the ATS. In the end, the humans are making the hiring decisions. One place to start is to do a search of the position, then address your followup email to the head of that department.


Getting your resume past the ATS is crucial in today's job market. By following these 11 tips, you can increase your chances of getting through to an interview and landing your dream job. Use relevant keywords, keep formatting simple, and customize your resume for each job application. Avoid spelling and grammar errors, standardize your section titles, and keep your resume concise. With these tips, you can catch the eye of both the ATS and the hiring manager to stand out from the competition.

Not sure what careers you should consider? For a step by step, personalized assessment of careers that match your aptitude and satisfy your individual personality and motivational factors, check out my Powerless to Powerful at Work digital coaching program today!


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