How to Beat Resume Screening Software

Don’t assume your resume ever makes it to human eyes.  Many companies, especially the big ones, use resume screening software to pull out the most qualified applicants.  Recruiters and hiring managers don’t have the time to go through all the resumes submitted for a position so you need to be smart to beat the software and make it to human eyes.  I have 5 must-do tips to help your resume make it through:

1.    Use a traditional format.  Set your resume up by reverse chronology (dates starting with the most recent info at the top) or by function.  I prefer reverse chronology.

2.    Avoid fancy designs.  Your resume should be easy to read.  Screening software systems have a tougher time reading anything overly fancy so keep it simple.  If you have a slightly fancier version of your resume (with some design elements on it, for example), save that for when you score an in-person interview.

3.    Use a common, popular font.  Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman, and Georgia are all good choices that make your resume easy to read.

4.    Use dates on your resume for past positions as some software programs will search for a sum total of years of experience.  If you have gaps in your resume, stick with just years. If not, then use months and years.

5.    Use key words from the job description.  Try to match the job requirements as best as possible on your resume.  Using exact words is great.  Check out  This site allows you to uncover what’s most important for any position.  All you need to do is copy the requirements from the job positing and paste them into the box on the site.  Be sure to select ‘yes’ for ‘show frequencies’.  It’s fascinating to see how many times specific words come up in a job description. That becomes your roadmap for some of the words you need on your resume to help pass the screening process. 

You've got one shot to make the right impression with your resume. Check out our resume review service for an evaluation and recommendations on how to get noticed.

And if you want more tips on how to actually get called for an interview, check out our online course to learn how.  

Until next time, follow me on Twitter at @MadeToHire, Instagram, and on Facebook. 

Merryn Roberts-Huntley