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Can I Cut Corners to Beat the ATS?

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a computer program that helping hiring managers organize and keep track of resumes that are submitted for job postings. The program has the capability to analyze resumes to determine if the applicant meets the needs of the job posting, although many hiring managers don't utilize this function. For those that do, the computer program works by looking for keywords from the job posting in the resume. Job candidates have tried to cut corners to beat the ATS but the attempts fail. Let's look at some of the methods people employ and why they won't work in the long run.

Applicant Tracking System Computer Software (ATS)

Cutting Corners Method #1: Copy the Job Posting Directly into the Resume.

Remember that after the resume gets through the ATS, it will be read by a human. A recruiter or HR will easily recognize the job posting copied into your resume and realize you aren't actually providing them a valid resume but instead are plagiarizing. Your resume may make it past the ATS, but it will be quickly put on a discard pile and you won't be called for an interview.

Cutting Corners Method #2: Put a List of Keywords at the Bottom of the Resume in Very Small White Font.

Man making revisions to his resume

Candidates who try this assume they won't be caught because no one will be able to see the white font on the white paper. However, an ATS provides a list of the keyword matches for the recruiter to review. It will be readily apparent that your resume didn't actually contain the keywords listed in the output so they will figure out that you attempted to subvert the system. This shows a lack of integrity and will result in your resume being cast aside.

Cutting Corners Method #3: Adding Keywords that Don't Reflect the Candidates Work Experience or Education.

At an interview candidates are asked to support what they have on their resume by talking about their experiences and giving specific examples. If you have just added keywords to your resume but they aren't based on your actual experience, it will be caught during the interview process. When you can't support and defend what you have on your resume, your honesty will be called into question and it is likely the job offer will go to someone else.

Interviewer and Interviewing discussing a resume

Cutting Corners Method #4: Keyword Stuffing.

Applicants that stuff their resume with keywords by making a bulleted list or forcing them all into a section of the resume without support are obviously trying to take a shortcut. You must have experience with all things included in your resume so each item you list should be supported. If keywords are all listed without details, it will be apparent that the resume was just stuffed with keywords. This will make the recruiter question the integrity of the applicant and it is likely the resume will not make it to the next step of the process.

Although applicants may think that cutting corners to get past the ATS is a good idea, it will likely cause them to lose the opportunity to interview for the position. Remember, a human being will read the resume and make the hiring decision. They will see that the job seeker has attempted to take a shortcut and will not be impressed. If your resume includes any of these attempts to cut corners, it is time to for a resume rewrite!

Instead of cutting corners, have Revision Resume create you a valid resume that is optimized for the ATS. We are trained in creating professional resumes and never attempt to take shortcuts. Revision Resume provides resume assistance to those that live in the Rochester area and beyond.

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