Beat the robots, put your resume in HR’s hands
Application Tips

Beat the robots, put your resume in HR’s hands

I had an experience that I got a rejection letter right after submitting the job application. Why did this happen?

I realized that my application was filtered out by ATS (application tracking system). On average, 70–75% of the resumes were screened out at this level as the hiring team has thousands of applications coming every day. This is a software commonly used by HR within the company, it is mainly used to help recruiting teams to find out appropriate candidates faster.

I would like to share with you how to develop an ATS-friendly resume and beat the system. Let’s check it out, no matter what stage of your resume building is.

Start with the “format”

Basically, the ATS system is doing text and content analysis, so we need to avoid tables, pictures, and vector diagrams in the resume (of course, bullet points can be used). Perhaps you want to demonstrate creative and innovative skills, but this may lead the resume unanalyzable under the ATS process.

In addition, you can use some common fonts, such as Arial, Calibri, or Garamond. Choosing Serif-type fonts, like Georgia, makes people feel more trustworthy and established. If you want to make the resume more modern and concise, you can choose San Serif-type fonts, like Roboto.

The better font size is between 9–11. People might think the content is not rich and solid enough when seeing the large size font. On the other side, it makes it difficult for people to read comfortably if the size of font is too small. Last, after the content is completed, the output format can be either PDF or Word.

Increase the chance of matching


Keywords include the skills required for this position and related professional terms.

Take the Insights & Analytics Analyst (Consumer Insights) position as an example. In the Job description, you can find that the keyword ‘data’ appears 10 times, followed by PPC (pay per click), Revenue, Analytics/Analysis, etc. Next, to think about: how much % do I understand these terms? (for sure, you don’t need to understand 100%) Am I able to do it? Any of my previous experiences overlapped? Any similarities between my experience and this position?

After the quick self-evaluation, the next step is to retouch the resume and place words such as PPC, revenue, analytics into your resume. These top keywords can be reused many times. If these keywords are not the best choice, you can fill in similar keywords, such as advertising and marketing. (more industry-wise or functional term)

Keyword analysis

Job Title

ATS also observe the job title on the resume, the job title is one of the screening criteria, so we must add/keep the related job title and experience, and delete the information that is irrelevant to the target job or outdated information, for example, the story of 15 years ago does not need to be mentioned.

You can use the “Resume Assistant” function on Word to look at the other job experience of specific positions as a sample, retrieve some keywords or content that can be applied to yourself. Querying similar job titles, you can modify and adjust previous job titles accordingly in order to match the target position.

Resume Assistant


Use the most common style, which is a hybrid design, write down the contact, personal summary*, education, work experience, skills (mainly hard skills) and license in order.
*Personal summary is optional.

Hybrid layout

If it mentions the relevant certificate in the job description, and you have that certificate, please put the name of the certificate on your resume. For example, if it mentions “PMP”, then PMP should be written in your resume instead of the full name, Project Management Professional; if it mentions “Project Management Professional”, you should put “Project Management Professional” on the resume. Be consistent.

Time for practice

Browsing the content of opening position, you can try to do some simple context analysis — analyzing what hard skills, soft skills, and action verbs are included. Doing more practice, you will know how to handle ATS.

Context analysis — hard skill, soft skill and action verb

You will always have ups and downs in your life and your career, but just stay positive and go for it.

— Angelique Kerber, tennis player

Feel free to communicate together and wish everyone a great start to the resume. It’s never too late to start.

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