Crafting an ATS Friendly Resume: Key Takeaways from ‘Beyond the Screen’ Webinar

Webinar banner featuring three industry experts with the title 'Crafting an ATS Friendly Resume: Key Takeaways from 'Beyond the Screen' Webinar' against a dark background adorned with resume icons.

Have you ever wondered how to create an ATS friendly resume that stands out to recruiters and hiring managers? Our recent webinar, “Beyond the Screen”, hosted by Resume and Career Services (RaCS) and Blue Signal Search, provided essential insights into this very topic. Industry experts Matt Walsh, Amanda Miller, and Brent Stokes shared their vast knowledge, offering strategies for resumes that excel in both digital and human assessments.

Blue Signal Search CEO Matt Walsh’s Recruitment Insights

Kickstarting the event was Matt Walsh, CEO of Blue Signal Search and a recruitment maestro with two decades of experience. Matt unraveled the complexities of these digital gatekeepers, stressing the crucial understanding of ATS mechanics. He reviewed the nuances of ATS systems, highlighting the importance of understanding both the technological and human aspects of the recruitment process. Matt’s insights revealed the importance for crafting resumes that are both ATS compatible and captivating to recruiters.

Amanda Miller’s Expertise on Crafting ATS Friendly Resumes

Next up was Amanda Miller, RaCS Candidate Experience Manager, and our resident resume expert. Renowned for transforming ordinary skill lists into mesmerizing career stories, Amanda shared her secret formula for ATS friendly resumes. With a focus on the pivotal elements of resume formatting and content, she guided attendees on how to make their resumes not only ATS friendly but also captivating to the human eye.

Senior Recruiter Brent Stokes’ Recruiting Perspectives

Adding to the mix, Blue Signal Search’s Sr. Recruiting Manager, Brent Stokes, provided a recruiter’s eye view on the ATS friendly resume saga. Brent revealed the inner workings of the recruitment industry’s reliance on ATS, providing a behind-the-scenes look at how recruiters interact with these systems. His insights offered a roadmap to creating resumes that don’t just tick the ATS boxes but also make recruiters pause and take notice.

Q&A Session Highlights

Lastly, the webinar’s Q&A session allowed attendees to explore the finer points of crafting an ATS friendly resume. This interactive portion was particularly beneficial for attendees seeking personalized guidance. Here are few exchanges from the Q&A segment:

  • Question: “Do ATS systems have a preference of file type, like a PDF or Word document? Are there advantages/disadvantages to applying with one versus the other?”
    • Answer: “When you apply online through an ATS system, it’s always better to send it as a PDF. The reason being is that it keeps the same look and feel, and they can easily scan it. Almost all ATS systems can support a PDF now, they previously were not able to, and if they don’t give that to you as an option, by all means use your word document as a fallback. But don’t send a Google doc or a Pages doc, always go with PDF first and then a Word doc.”
  • Question: “Is using columns on a resume ATS compliant? What’s your advice and best practice on resume format?”
    • Answer: “There are a lot of resume templates out there with columns, and they are readable by ATS systems. However, it sometimes reads them out of order. For example, a resume reviewed this morning had columns that were readable by the ATS, but it was completely out of order, making it difficult to comprehend. So, it’s best practice to not use columns for an ATS friendly resume. Instead, send as a straight up and down document like you would write any other document.”
  • Question: “What is your advice for listing skills on an ATS friendly resume? Should I list keywords from the job description, or do you have any other advice?”
    • Answer: “You definitely want to stick to what it says in the job description. There are two tools that you can use to check your resume. One is called, and you have to pay for it after a certain amount, but with Jobscan you can upload your resume and upload your job description and it will tell you if you have the right keywords. The other option is ChatGPT, upload the job description and say, “please provide keywords related to this job description” and it will help you pull some of those keywords. You want the resume to be as closely matching the job description as possible, because the likelihood is that on the other end, the HR person or recruiter is typing in those keywords, and then your resume won’t come up if you don’t have the same keywords listed.”
  • Question: “Do you recommend following up with recruiters if you don’t get a response?”
    • Answer: “YES, we encourage you to follow up with us! That being said, don’t come at us like a collections agent and be threatening. We get hundreds of messages a day, so we always encourage following up, especially if there is a role you think you are the perfect fit for.”

About Resume and Career Services

And the magic doesn’t stop there! Resume and Career Services specialize in creating ATS friendly resumes that resonate with both software algorithms and human reviewers. Their range of services, tailored for all levels of professionals, includes personalized resume writing and career coaching. These services are designed to help job seekers present their best professional selves.

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About Blue Signal Search

Additionally, Blue Signal Search plays a pivotal role in understanding the importance of an ATS friendly resume in the hiring process. They offer tailored recruiting solutions, aligning candidates’ skills with industry needs. Their approach ensures that both job seekers and employers benefit from their comprehensive market knowledge and recruitment expertise.

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In conclusion, mastering an ATS friendly resume is more than just a technical challenge; it’s about crafting a document that truly represents your professional value. For more insights on resume writing and job search strategies, visit our YouTube channel. Also, be sure to follow us for the latest updates and information on our upcoming webinars.