6 Ways to Prevent Your Resume From Getting Tossed

April 8, 2015



We know you. You’re one of the thousands of awesome job candidates who apply to multiple jobs a week and never hear anything back from the recruiter. No email. No phone call. Nothing but confirmation that your resume has been received and then radio silence. You’ve got the skills. You’ve mastered every formula in excel and you can sling code with your eyes closed. Let’s face it. You’re a hot commodity in your industry and any company should be welcoming you with open arms.

But why aren’t they?

The truth of the matter is your resume probably isn’t getting read because it’s not making it through the applicant tracking system (ATS)—that tedious and time consuming system you use each time you apply to a job online. A modern ATS is smart enough to read your resume and map your skills so that the recruiter has an electronic view of your employment experience and skill sets. However, if your resume doesn’t pass through the system’s parsing guidelines, it gets tossed out.

But fear not! Here are 6 things you should do to get your resume through the system and directly in front of the recruiter:

1. Say “sayonara!” to all graphics, borders and symbols.

Yes! All of these things adds a visually pleasing element to your resume. But, it’s counterproductive to add them when it’s also the main reason recruiters aren’t seeing it in the first place. In fact, fancy designs actually translate into number codes once your resume goes through the parsing system which also causes unsightly clutter.

2. Steer clear of headers and footers.

Headers and footers are like the blind spots around your vehicle—those areas you can’t directly see in normal circumstances without adjusting the side view mirrors. Unfortunately, there are no side mirrors to adjust when recruiters review your resume in the applicant tracking system and any content you put in the header and footer simply won’t be seen.

3. Save the fancy fonts for “thank you” notes.

You know the follow-up notes you send out after you nail the interview and you’re feeling confident the recruiter was impressed? Adding elaborate typeface on your resume on the other hand can confuse the applicant tracking system algorithm. When in doubt, stick to Times New Roman or Arial and you’re good to go.

4. Nix the tables.

Tables are always a great way to organize content but when it comes to your resume, it’s best to leave it out as it’s just another element that causes a lot of confusion within the applicant tracking system. Remember, the less confused the system is, the higher your chances of having a perfectly parsed resume, nailing the interview and landing that dream job.

5. Don’t let the outsiders in.

We’re talking about those tempting resume templates in Microsoft Word and various outside sources. Although they are visually attractive, the applicant tracking systems only read text and anything else containing graphic elements really gets in the way and prevents your resume from making it to the recruiter.

6. Stand tall, when appropriate.

Capitalization matters and it’s crucial to use it correctly. Section headers are great to format in all caps. Job titles and your employer’s name should stay in down style (only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized).


These tips are just scratching the surface. Download our FREE Resume Guide to learn how to craft the perfect resume and increase your chances of landing your dream job!

What other resume tips do you have for the job seekers out there? Comment below to share your knowledge! We’d love to hear from you.



Comments are closed.

March 24, 2016
  • 88
  • 7
March 15, 2016
  • 66
  • 2
March 15, 2016
  • 61
  • 6
March 14, 2016
  • 34
  • 0
March 13, 2016
  • 41
  • 3
January 7, 2016
  • 109
  • 11


Thanks for visiting the SkillGigs Facebook page! By using or accessing our Facebook page, you agree to comply with Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. As always, the content posted by fans of SkillGigs' Facebook page does not reflect SkillGigs' views or opinions. Just because you see content from other fans of SkillGigs does not mean SkillGigs confirms the accuracy that content. Our hope is that your experience on our Facebook page is just as awesome as your SkillGigs experience on our website. That’s why we’re asking all of our fans to follow a few guidelines to help maintain this standard. Please do not post content that: is fraudulent, deceptive or misleading; is threatening, abusive, defamatory, obscene, indecent or objectionable; violates any law or regulation; violates the intellectual property rights of another; is hateful or otherwise targets race, religion, political beliefs, ethnicity, gender, sex, or nationality; is spamming (including link baiting) or commercial in nature; or is otherwise offensive. We reserve the right to remove any posts that violate these guidelines or that we otherwise determine are not appropriate. By posting content on our page, you hereby grant to SkillGigs a worldwide, royalty-free license to use and fully exploit the content in any manner or media, forever, without any obligation to you. This includes the right to use any ideas you submit (including ideas about our products or advertising campaigns) in any manner that we choose, without any obligation to you.
SkillGigsWednesday, March 8th, 2017 at 4:43am
Get an accurate measurement of your recruiting efforts. Free Templates!
17    View on Facebook
SkillGigsTuesday, December 6th, 2016 at 8:34am
4    View on Facebook
SkillGigsSaturday, November 19th, 2016 at 4:33am
If you thought IT staffing firms could help you make a great hire think again...
2    View on Facebook
SkillGigsSaturday, November 12th, 2016 at 6:01am
#2 is Probably the most important lesson for hiring tech talent.
2    View on Facebook
SkillGigsThursday, November 10th, 2016 at 9:47am
Is it time to hit the panic button? Find out the effects Trump's Presidency will have on Startups and Tech Companies
3    View on Facebook
SkillGigs - Job Searching Tips - Recruiting & Sourcing Advice

Subscribe Now: