Get your Resume Past Applicant Tracking Systems

By Vivian Giang

When you apply for a job at a larger firm, there's a high chance that your resume will be scanned by a filtering software for words related to certain job vacancies. This kind of automation process will also reject your resume if it doesn't "meet traditional, business-dictated document formatting," writes Rick Gillis in his book

Here are some formatting rules that Gillis says job seekers should follow to create a filtering software-friendly resume:

  • Do not place your contact information in the header of your resume, because filtering software can be set to ignore headers and footers so there is a risk this information will be deleted.
  • Choose a conservative font such as Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, or Calibri. Gillis says that serif fonts, such as Times Roman or Cambria may be rejected by screening software.
  • Do not use any script fonts.
  • The smallest font size to use for the body of your resume should be 11 point. "Any smaller and you're probably asking for trouble."
  • No graphics or logos.
  • Do not format using tables.
  • No borders.
  • A one-inch margin top and bottom is best.
  • Do not use any lines that cross the entire page from margin to margin, because "some filters have been created that will reject a document for nothing more than having a single line run continuously across the page," he writes.