Jheneal McDuffie, CPS’10, MS’12

Is your resume robot-proof?

If you’ve recently applied for a job, the chances are that the company you applied to used an Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to review your application. Artificial Intelligence in hiring is prevalent among Fortune 500 companies that hire often and in large volumes. The software assists in finding candidates who are a perfect fit for the posted position and much more. Nearly 98% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS. If you’re about to start a job hunt, here are some tips to make sure your resume is robot-proof.

Become familiar with how ATS works

  • You can’t “beat” the system; they’re designed to know common tricks that applicants use.
  • The system scores your resume. Recruiters can manually add specific keywords, qualifications, and experience to the ATS and weigh them based on business needs. When you apply for a position, your skills are aligned to identify the best candidate. Scoring displays a percentage-match for each candidate from highest to lowest, and helps recruiters to expedite the decision-making process.
  • Major hiring platforms, such as Indeed, Monster, and LinkedIn, are using ATS. It’s important to consider format, content, keywords, and specificity when applying for each position on any platform. Below are a few tips to place your resume for optimal success.

Tips to keep your resume in the system

Nearly 75% of candidates are screened out of ATS based on minimum qualifications. So, if you want your resume to stand out, here are a few tips:

  • Be honest. For you to properly position yourself for a new role, you want to make sure that you have the skills needed for the challenge. If you’re honest about your skills and competence level, it will be easier for you to relay that through your resume.
  • Use simple templates. A huge pain point for applicants is uploading a resume and then having to retype everything they’ve just uploaded. The good news is that the software uses resume parsing to read and submit your resume into the system. Just make sure your resume formatting is as simple as possible for the system to transition it seamlessly.
  • Stick to the tried and tested format. Use headings that align with ATS – Education, Skills, and Work Experience. Using terms like “Professional History” or “Professional Experience” makes it difficult for the system to link to “work experience.” If the system is not configured with those terms, you are less likely to have your resume viewed by human eyes.
  • Use common fonts. Remember to use a font like Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri so that your resume doesn’t translate into obscure symbols 
  • Use keywords wisely. You should identify key competencies for each position. Some companies will highlight them within the body of the posting and others will have them either at the beginning or end of the posting; i.e., communication, relationship building, initiative, work ethic, etc. – are a few that you may notice in postings. Make sure to incorporate these into your resume to help the system choose your resume over others.
  • Incorporate words from the job description. Where possible, use the exact language from the job posting in your resume. For example, if the posting has the word “initiated” and you write “initiate,” the ATS will not detect that you mean “initiated” and will lower your keyword score.
  • Don’t go overboard! Be careful about “keyword-stuffing” your resume. Adding the entire job description into your resume will not get you selected. Use your judgment and make smart choices. In the same vein, don’t use overcomplicated vocabulary in your resume. The recruiter shouldn’t need a thesaurus to decode your resume.

Your online presence could be a game-changer

Most ATS can scan both your resume and LinkedIn simultaneously. If you are competing against a peer with the same credentials, your LinkedIn profile could be what sets you apart. An individual with the profile will likely get an interview because the recruiter has a chance to see who that person is beyond what’s on paper.

Here are a few steps you can take to give you an advantage:

  • Create a LinkedIn profile that includes a professional photo, headline, summary, and work experience.
  • Put your contact information on the page and make it public. Create a professional e-mail specifically for your job search. You should also create a google voice account and use that phone number.
  • Clean up your Facebook profile! ATS can scan your social media pages and track certain behaviors.

April 10, 2020

AI is at every point in the job process!

During the hiring process, you may receive text messages or e-mails that you think are from the recruiter, but it may be from a chatbot. This new AI resource saves recruiters and candidates time by automating responses for frequently asked questions. Many companies are using AI to complete preliminary interviews. Instead of a traditional phone interview, you may start receiving callbacks from robots. Also, be careful of what you put on social media, and what others tag you in. More and more companies are using AI to get a better understanding of potential candidates’ behavior on social media. ATS and AI software can search your profiles for attitude, work ethic, tendencies, strengths, and other attributes or characteristics.

We have officially moved into the age of machines that think and work like humans. To adapt is to succeed. To paraphrase Darwin, “in the long history of humankind those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”

Jheneal McDuffie, CPS’10, MS’12, started The Resume Chic & Co. to help anyone who wanted to further their education or career. She leads a team of writers and editors with the primary goal of consulting and collaborating for the clients’ success. As a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), her mission is to help clients to engage, inform and captivate readers by providing content that highlights their best endeavors on paper. Jheneal and her business take pride in being the point where creativity, research, technology, and experience converge to offer a seamless career support experience.

Hannah, Craig, and Bard, Etan (2018). Over 98% of Fortune 500 Companies Use Applicant Tracking Sytems. Jobscan. Retrieved from:

Kelly, Rob (2014). The Top 50 Applicant Tracking Systems. The Magnet. Retrieved from:

Optimizing Your Resume for Applicant Tracking Systems (2019). Retrieved from:

Prior, Ryan (2017). Your next job interview could be with a recruiter bot. Retrieved from: