I regularly advise people NOT to apply online. No amount of trickery will get you past the cumbersome process of answering long questionnaires or interpreting poorly written job descriptions and application instructions. But if you insist on doing it, there are some things you can do to improve your luck and there's no trickery to it.
The key is you need to make it through ATS unscathed.
1. Don't submit a fancy resume. Keep it simple, no graphics, no fancy fonts, no fancy formatting, no fancy anything. ATS systems do not have eyes. They cannot see what humans see and will not appreciate your creativity. You can create a fancy version of your resume to hand out to humans at interviews or when networking but don't use it to apply online.
2. Focus your resume on your accomplishments, the results of your work, particularly those things that are relevant to what the hiring manager needs. Quantify your results as often as possible. Numbers attract attention.
3. Save your resume as a Word (doc) file. Also save it as a plain text file (txt). Yes, txt files are butt-ugly, but again, computers are blind. They only read digital information. Submit your resume online as either a doc or txt file. All ATS systems can read these two. Actually ATS prefers a text file because all formatting is removed.
Some people will tell you to submit PDF files, arguing that they can protect the file from editing, by a recruiter for instance. The fact is every PDF file can be edited, protected or not. One just needs to know how. They will also tell you ATS can read PDF files, but don't count on it. Most ATS software cannot read PDF's because they are graphical representations of documents. ATS does not like graphics.
4. Watch out for spelling and grammar errors. Most ATS will check spelling at the very least. You will probably not find all of your own errors. Get capable help proofreading.
5. Don't use document creation shortcut tools provided in word processing software. In variably these tools will introduce graphic attributes that will cause information extraction issues for ATS. This can lead to outright rejection or non-response to your application. The tools include those that create headers, tables, text boxes, etc. Find a work-around for simplification tools, for example use tabs instead of tables. Using tabs and getting everything lined up like a nice table is more difficult than the tools that create tables, which is why word processors provide you with the tools.
6. Organize your resume the way ATS wants to see it. ATS will be looking for sections of information it wants to see, for instance Summary, Skills, Experience, and Education. It's advisable not to use variations of these titles. Also, if you held more than one position with a company, ATS prefers to see the company name restated for each position and the dates for that position.
If you insist on applying online, these suggestions will help you become the 1 in 250 that land a job. The best alternative to applying online is making voice contact with the hiring manager first, before applying. Eventually you will probably have to apply online, but you will already have established rapport with the hiring manager.
Help getting the word out. Share this with others.
Visit bit.ly/1TEqj93 and send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE analysis Today!