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5 minute read

Online Job Applications: Tips to Optimise Your Resume and Stand Out

Did you know that an ATS rejects on average 75% of the resumes it receives?

If you’ve been applying for a lot of jobs but not hearing back from anyone, your resume may have been rejected by software – the Applicant Tracking System, or ATS.

Over 90% of large companies are using ATS for their recruitment process, especially in a recession when they are flooded with thousands of job applications.

This is why optimising your resume for an ATS puts you in the eligible candidate pool, ahead of 75% of applicants.

What are Applicant Tracking Systems?

ATS is software used by companies to manage candidates applying for their open positions.

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It’s used by over 90% of large companies and the majority of SMEs are moving towards this too.

When you apply for a job online, your resume may not be going directly to the inboxes of recruiters or hiring managers.

It’s probably being processed by an ATS. This also means that once you pass the software screening, you are already in the top 25%.

How does ATS work?

The system sorts through resumes and turns them into a standard basic format, before comparing them against the job description to see which are the closest match.

For example, the ATS looks out for skills and keywords that hiring managers have listed in the job description.

They will compare them against your resume. This way, the recruiter or a hiring manager only reviews resumes that have passed the ATS screening when deciding who to interview.

Chances are that these candidates are the ones who are most likely to be a good fit.

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What companies in Singapore use ATS?

A survey by Kelly OCG estimated that 66% of large companies and 35% of small organisations rely on such recruitment software.

Read Also: How to Make Your Resume Stand Out When Applying for Digital Positions

According to Jobscan, 98% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS, including companies that have offices in Singapore such as Nike, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Amazon, and Adobe.

Google and Facebook developed their own ATS.

Online job portals such as LinkedIn and Indeed also have an ATS to help companies sort their candidates.

So when you apply for a job online, there’s a high chance that an ATS is being used.

How to beat Applicant Tracking Systems

  • Pay attention to words or phrases used multiple times in the job descriptions and insert them in your resume.
  • Make sure the important keywords appear on your resume two to three times. Optimising the keywords for an ATS does not mean cheating the system if you actually have the relevant skills or experience.
  • Don’t use tables or columns as the ATS may not be able to read your CV.
  • Use PDFs or Word documents because these are your safest choices. The ATS may unable to scan through other types of documents.
  • Kept your font simple. Use Times New Roman, Helvetica, Garamond, Georgia or Arial because the ATS is not sophisticated enough to recognise unusual characters. It works best with simple formatting and clear wording.
  • ATS scans for words, so avoid including images, especially if they contain any text.
  • Don’t get too creative. Use “Work Experience”, not “Jobs I’ve held” or anything more complicated to list your work experience. You want it to be really simple for the software to understand.
  • Don’t use headers or footers as the information might not get picked up.
  • Your resume is for both ATS and recruiters. While optimising your resume for ATS is crucial, it should also be clear and easy to read to attract recruiters or HR managers.

Drawbacks of ATS

Even though ATS reduces employers’ time to screen through resumes, it also has drawbacks.

Hiring companies may miss out on top talent because their resume is not optimised for ATS screening.

Also, some companies may still screen all applicants again to confirm the ATS screening.

As such, you can have an attractive resume with aesthetic visuals to apply for more creative positions.

If you don’t want to optimise for the ATS, then apply for jobs using online job portals that don’t use an ATS.

This article is contributed by TalentTribe.

Did you know?

A profile with an updated work experience on MyCareersFuture is 75% more likely to be noticed by employers. This is because the MyCareersFuture jobs portal allows employers to view candidates’ work experience conveniently, without even having to download individual resumes. This helps them to identify potential talents quickly.

So, if you’re looking to stand out and get noticed by more employers on MyCareersFuture, don’t forget to update your work experience on your profile!

Stay on top of your job search in just 3 steps:

  1. Log in to MyCareersFuture with your Singpass
  2. Click on your name at the top right corner, then on ‘profile’ and scroll down to ‘work experience’
  3. Fill up the relevant fields and add your latest work experiences. Remember to set your profile to ‘open to opportunities’.

Get noticed by employers while job-hunting. Log in to MyCareersFuture and update your work experience now.

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