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Three Formatting Faux Pas’ on Your Resume That the Applicant Tracking Systems Can’t Read!


resumeIn an effort to creatively format one’s resume, our clients will do some things well – and other things… not so well. I’ve made a list below of the mistakes we’ve seen people make when formatting their resume.

Why is this important? For the obvious reason that your resume needs to look good. But you also need to be careful with your resume formatting because of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). We all know that companies use them to sift through resumes to determine who is a qualified applicant, and who isn’t. And clients will often ask us how to beat them so to speak. There is no magic bullet to do so, but there are things you can do to help ensure your resume gets through the check points and gate keepers. Keep these formatting faux pas in mind to get past the software as frequently as you can…

1 – Don’t use tables. Yes, I know this is a great way to include a list for competencies, format your contact information, or to creatively format your overall resume. It makes things easier to read. However this is a big NO-NO because some ATS systems cannot read the content in your tables.

2 – Don’t use text boxes. This is another great way to include information in a visually appealing and easy to read fashion but is yet another object that can’t be read, therefore any content in a text box can potentially be lost.

3 – Don’t put your contact information in the document’s header or footer. Some ATS systems cannot read the information in this section, resulting in a resume with no name or contact information.

The moral of the story is… if you want your resume to be properly read by a company’s applicant tracking system, do not use any of the features above. Instead use the other formatting features of Word or your preferred software to create and style your resume.

Thank you to one of our resume experts, Jasmine Marchong, for this article and the resume tips. Want more Resume and Cover Letter Tips? Watch these helpful videos Hallie has created by clicking here.

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