The REAL​ low-down on Application Tracking Systems (ATS)

Let me get straight to the point.

To finally settle the score of whether applicant tracking systems (ATS) automatically kick candidates out of the software if a resume contains text boxes, tables, or pictures… or if you must submit your resume in Word vs. PDF or (PDF vs. Word)...

NO - You will not get bumped out the system (or fall into a ‘black hole’) if your resume includes such aesthetics.

But, there’s a caveat. Let me explain...

I create graphic resumes all the time for Creative clients, and, yes, they get jobs. In fact, for some industries, it is preferred that your resume has some creative flare to it.

So, yes, you can choose to use the cutesy Pinterest templates, colors, fonts, tables, and etc. to enhance your resume’s visual presentation, if you wish.

The choice is yours, but do keep these things in mind when you elect to use a visual resume:

You decrease your efficiency in completing online applications. When your resume includes pictures and etc., etc., it doesn’t parse very well with ATS. By using a plain text version, you increase your online application speed.

You have to double- and triple-check your application. As aforementioned, since PDFs and tables and things don’t parse all too well with applicant tracking systems, you better scrutinize your application before you hit that 'submit' button. You’ll need to make sure that your last name isn’t where your address belongs - and your birthdate isn’t where the application date should be - and you get my drift.

***Basically, your information goes 'haywire,' and you could potentially fall into the ‘black hole.’ You run the risk of your submission appearing illegible or excluding important information.

You need to create a plain text format to supplement your visual-style resume (more work). As a best practice, always UPLOAD the plain text version (the one without all the aesthetics) and ATTACH the graphic resume where you attached your cover letter ("Additional Attachments"). YOU SHOULD UPLOAD THE PLAIN TEXT FILE because it parses better with ATS systems.

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I’d love to hear your comments and/or questions.

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