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How can I get the robots on my side?


Career stress! Good news and bad news.

There was a time when one could conduct a job search without thinking much about robots, but that time is gone. A recent U.S. News and World Report article about applicant tracking systems explains the situation: when job hunters post their resumes online, an automated system provides an initial layer of screening. When it works well, this type of system ensures that decision-makers spend their time efficiently, looking at an applicant pool that has already been winnowed to make sure there is a good fit.

In that same article, resume expert Robin Schlinger offers advice on how job hunters can best navigate the automated screening process. Among the tips:

  • Since robots aren't great at reading between the lines, make sure your resume is divided into clear sections with clear headings like "summary," education," and "skills."
  • Use some keywords and phrases that echo language from the job announcement. Be honest and don't go overboard.
  • Don't count on the system being able to understand sophisticated tables. You'll be best served by basic fonts and basic formatting. Helvetica is your friend.

Glenda Robinson, a senior corporate reviewer, notes in a Forbes article that you'll generally still have the opportunity to bring a hard copy of a more creatively formatted resume when you come for an interview.

And, of course, we'll add that AIE has cool and helpful resume-writing resources, include this page on how to avoid common resume mistakes. Happy job hunting!