How to Write a Resume That Kicks Robot Butt

Posted January 27, 2014 by Sally Calloway in Building Your Brand

The major shift in the economy accounts for an increasingly competitive employment market. Not only do applicants have to compete with an average of 55 other candidates per open position, they also have to compete with software like “The Resumator” programmed to screen out resumes that do not match job descriptions. Robots, otherwise known as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), have become more popular because they can make the application process faster and easier for candidates while saving time, money and easing the hiring process for companies.

An infographic illustrated by Hire Right suggests that approximately 95% of large organizations (almost all Fortune 500 companies) and 50% of mid-size organizations use ATS’s.  They also note that ATS’s are able to kick out approximately 75% of resumes. Some of the traditional resume writing rules may not be able to compete with “Mr. Roboto”.

Here are tips to help you whip your resume into shape and kick some robot butt:

  • A two page resume is okay. However, your resume should only include information most relevant to the job description. So, don’t beef it up with fluff.
  • Use a “Summary of Qualifications” or an “Executive Summary” listing qualifications and skills relative to the position. Objective statements have become obsolete anyway. Employers and robots alike want to know what you have to offer not what you are looking for.
  • Format your “Professional Experience” as such: employer name first, your position title second, and dates of employment third (include months & years). Too often, applicants use outdated templates that still suggest that your dates of employment may be listed on the left. Whether it is a human or a robot that reviews your resume, it is recommended that your dates of employment are noted on the right side of the document.
  • Infuse keywords and phrases from the job description throughout your resume.
  • Avoid using headers, footers, tables, graphics, colors or logos.
  • Avoid using fancy fonts. Stick with Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica or Veranda.
  • Regardless of whether you’re submitting your resume to a human or a robot, avoid spelling and grammar errors, and use proper punctuation.
  • Avoid acronyms. Spell out titles like Certified Professional Accountant for instance rather than noting it is as CPA.
  • Avoid uploading your resume as a PDF file as certain software may not be able to read this format.

In order to stand out and beat the competition and kick some robot butt, It is important that your resume is optimized to this increasingly popular technology so that you can land interviews. Ideally, you should have multiple versions and multiple formats of your resume customized to each job description and company culture.

Now go kick some robot booty!

About the Author

Sally Calloway

Sally Calloway is a Career Coach and an Expert Resume Writer known for landing an interview and getting an offer for every position she's applied for. Her passion for career development began back in college when her resume stood out among thousands of applicants landing her an interview to intern for "The Late Show With David Letterman". Bombing the interview ignited her pursuit to help others achieve their career success. Sally coach's job seekers and career changers of all levels, developing a competitive personal brand that resonates with their target audience through various communication platforms; social media profiles, resumes, job applications, job interviews. From college students to C-level executives, Coach Sally provides expertise in communicating a unique value proposition so that even passive career success seekers can stand out, land the job and get promoted.


    Yael Pe'er

    Wonderful article Sally. I find this information very valuable. Do you have any actual examples of what a robot-butt-kicking resume actually looks like? In theory this sounds simple, but it would be wonderful to see a tangible example. Thanks again!

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