top of page

What you need to know about resume-reading software

The following is an excerpt from my new book,‘Fired to Hired, The Guide to Effective Job Search for the Over 40s’which is currently available on Amazon Kindle and will be available in hard copy from the 15th September 2015 on Amazon, Book Depository, Booktopia and Fishpond among others. If you want an easy-to-read, no-nonsense and practical guide to job search, written by someone who understands job loss and search, this book is for you. Enjoy!

Unhand me, you mechanical moron.’ —Dr Zachary Smith, Lost in Space

It’s becoming increasingly common for organisations to use what is known as applicant tracking software (also known as talent recruitment systems) to receive, analyse and sort resumes submitted for roles advertised online, which, according to latest statistics, is about ninety percent of advertised roles. Some of the more common ATS providers include Bullhorn, Zoho Recruit and Taleo.

Understandably, when an organisation receives hundreds, or even thousands, of applications for roles, it can be tedious to screen, let alone read, all their resumes. ATS automates the process and replaces the human screen with a software program. In many respects this is not a bad thing as it increases the objectivity of the screening process. Plus, the software can work twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

ATS looks for keywords in the submitted resume in order to match the candidate to the relevant role, generally eliminating about seventy-five percent of candidates during the first cull. Keywords can even include the names of schools or universities attended, previous employers that are deemed attractive, and of course the skills and experience required by the hiring organisation.

The use of ATS is largely limited to large recruiters and businesses; however, cloud-based systems are becoming more affordable for small and medium-sized businesses. In Australia, companies using ATS include IGA, Oracle (which produces the Taleo system), Chandler McLeod, Miele, Sydney Water, Kelly Services and Mitsubishi.

If you apply for a role on a company website and are required to fill in your details as well as uploading, and copying and pasting your resume, there’s a good chance you’re going into an ATS. Often this process can be frustratingly long and tedious; however, if you really want the job that should give you enough incentive to get through it.

So, how can you create a resume that can be read by a robot? The best way to get an ATS to notice your resume is to anticipate the keywords or phrases the system will be trying to find for the role. This further reinforces your need to ensure that your resume is adapted to, or relevant for, the role you’re interested in. If you don’t tailor your resume in this way, there’s a very good chance it won’t be attractive to the ATS and will be among the many resumes culled as not being a good match for the role.

Brevity is best; ensure that only information relevant to the role is included. Put keywords in the summary at the top of your resume, use plain fonts, and avoid graphics and tables, both of which ATS systems can’t read.

If you want to see how your resume aligns to a stated job description or advertisement, there’s a great site called Jobscan ( All you need to do is copy and paste your resume in one field, the job description in the other, hit the analyse button and see the results. It will give you a percentage match rate with a skills comparison. You can use this information to further modify and update your resume so it’s a better match for the advertised job.

Thanks for reading about resume-reading software! If you liked this information, you can receive many more tips and hints on effective job search for mature job seekers by purchasing the eBook on Amazon by clicking here.

The Career Medic – Taking the worry out of job search for the over 40s

10 views0 comments


bottom of page