Over 50 Resume Quick Tip – #6 – Beware of Resume Templates

resumesIt’s all in the details.

As I discussed in my previous Quick Tip #5 regarding your resume and the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), it is important that you be careful using resume templates. Creating a resume today is a balancing act.  You need to first and foremost write your resume for a person to read, but also make sure your resume survives an ATS parsing scan.  The parser is what compares your resume to the job description and keywords the recruiter uses.

Resume templates are not created equal.

In your job search, be sure that you write every resume specifically for the job you are applying for.  Today, doing anything less is wasting your time.  Resume templates make creating a resume easier for you.  After all, you just fill in the fields provided and template does the rest.  You end up with a professional, nicely formatted resume.  What they don’t tell you, is that they insert extra formatting in the underlying script to make the resume work. This extra formatting frequently confuses the ATS scanner.  So, your very professional resume, with all your keywords and excellent experience, could be rejected just because the parser could not understand the formatting.

All is not lost!

A few job search sites have figured out that template resumes are not making it through the ATS scanners.  So several websites now offer templates that have been tested robot2as ATS safe.  Using one of these templates, mirroring the job description, and using ATS compatible fonts such as Arial, Courier, or Times New Roman, will increase your chances landing on a recruiter’s desk.

While it is currently possible to use resume templates to cruise through an ATS scanner, I have found that they are kind of difficult to change easily. I create a new resume for every job application and I keep it in folder with the company name along with the cover letter and the job description. For this reason, I ended up re-writing my resume manually using Microsoft Word so that I could easily target jobs.   If you are not a Word pro, then consider taking an online class.  I did.  I find the online classes on Lynda.com outstanding.  They offer you a 30 day trial which would let you take the Word Essentials class free.  I highly recommend it. Plus! they link it to your LinkedIn site so you have the new certificates!

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