Resume writing is one of the most underrated tasks we do while applying for various opportunities. A good resume plays a very vital role in helping you achieve your dream job.
According to multiple surveys conducted by CIO India, around 75 percent of qualified applicants have been rejected by an Applicant tracking system(ATS) because the software couldn’t read their resumes due to poor formatting or the absence of primary keywords.
Here’s a step-by-step approach to help you create a resume that will stand out to recruiters and effectively explain your talents and expertise. Let’s get started!
You might be pondering,” Do I need to understand what an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is?”
Larger companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and many more are explicitly committed to the Applicant tracking system because it makes the hiring procedure faster. After all, when an organization is vetting applicants for a couple of positions simultaneously, the workforce and budget range may not be available to process applications quickly.
Likewise, presently lots of smaller organisations have embraced this method too.
So in order to get hired, you’ll need to defeat these bots.
How does ATS work?
This system includes software that filters all those applications that are received. The recruiter inputs a list of keywords into this software as the criteria for the position. The ATS then examines your application for the keywords that the recruiter entered. If you don’t have the appropriate number, your resume will be lost in the software void, never seen by a recruiter.
Unlike a human, this software is most likely to reject your resume if- Somehow you failed to use the employer’s chosen keywords like
Let’s give you one example as the ATS is a machine, and it has no idea if the keyword SQL is in a resume or not because it’s a skill the candidate possesses or because the individual has chosen to abbreviate the term “sequel” in this non-standard form.
Therefore, resumes must be modified when applying for a position.
- Additionally, you have used some unusual fonts or formatting that the system doesn’t recognize.
- Or you lack the relevant experience but may have the qualifications that compensate for this.
For example, You might have done some certification from a renowned institute or might possess the skill but didn’t work on some live projects yet.
Thus, there could be plenty of reasons like the above, although we are here to help you tackle these imperfections and subsequently share some ideas to make your resume ATS-friendly.
Tips to make your resume ATS-friendly
- Use relevant keywords according to the position you are submitting your resume.
- Prioritise formatting details that are compatible with an ATS.
- Customise your resume for each job application.
- Avoid using abbreviations and Industry jargon or acronyms.
- Above all, Having references and good networking is still one of the easiest ways to bypass ATS.
Employee referrals are often regarded as the traditional “golden tickets” of the job search. While they cannot guarantee you a job, they can enhance the chances of your application being viewed by a recruiter or hiring manager, giving you an advantage in the recruiting process.
These tips might not make sense to you for now, but I would recommend you stay because we have discussed all the tips in detail in the upcoming headings. Trust me! It will all be worth it to read.
Above you must have encountered the term keyword and perhaps, questioning what a keyword is?
“A Keyword is a phrase or a few words on a resume that relate to a specific job advertisement.“
There are hundreds of thousands of applicants for one position, and they filter it out using particular keywords required for the role.
Therefore, your resume’s key phrases must comprise specific job necessities, such as your abilities, skills, applicable credentials, and previous positions and employers.
Essentially, keywords have to be words that seek the attention of a hiring manager at first glance.
Follow the given tips for including Keywords in Your Resume
- Ensure you have used most, if not all, of the Keywords relevant to each position.
- Include keywords that are closely related to the specific job.
- Include a variety of different keywords
For instance, if you’re looking for a job as a Cloud Architect, the employer must be looking for the following keywords:
- Knowledge of operating system
- Basic understanding of networking
- Programming or scripting languages
- Security concepts of cloud
Example of How to Choose the Right Resume Keywords?
We can see a job posting for a Software Developer below.
Step 1: Make a list of all the relevant keywords (Highlighted words are keywords in the following diagram).
Step 2: Separate the relevant keywords as shown in the table below into job-related and action verbs.
It will make writing the resume a breeze for you.
Step 3: Make a new division. Assign each keyword to a particular section of the resume. And put it in your resume accordingly.
Does it appear to be intimidating?
Well, Perhaps. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
To help you out, watch the guide on 10 Tips To Make Your Resume Golden provided by an ex-student of Coding Ninjas who successfully landed her dream job with Microsoft as a Software Engineer.
Characteristics of a Good Resume
Your resume is like your first impact on the hiring manager. It determines whether you will be called in for an interview or not.
Below are some of the characteristics an ideal resume should possess.
- The appearance of the resume
- Accurate information
- Full disclosure
- Appropriate format and relevant sections compatible with an ATS
- Updated information
We will now dig deeper into all these characteristics and disclose all the secrets one must possess in their resume to bypass the challenging phase of resume shortlisting.
Appearance Of The Resume
We all make snap judgments based on appearances. It’s no different for recruiters and hiring managers. Therefore, it’s just as vital to submit a professional-looking resume to dress professionally for a job interview. Let’s discuss some of the secrets regarding the appearance of a resume.
1. Length of an ideal resume
Ideally, your resume’s length depends on your experience level. Unless you have more than ten years of experience, a single page should suffice. Your resume should be a condensed version of your most current and relevant work experience.
The recruiters do not have much time and patience to go through the multiple pages of your resume. Try filling out everything in just one page. But keep in mind to question yourself,
- Am I looking for quality over quantity?
- Is every piece of professional experience I listed relevant?
- If you’re a fresher, you should never, ever go above the one-page restriction because you might not hold much work experience.
Therefore any information you include that goes beyond one page is generally irrelevant. Instead, try to concentrate on your most outstanding qualifications, academic achievements, and subjects of interest related to the job you’re applying for, and you won’t even need a whole page.
The chart below shows the length of your resume that is recommended based on your years of experience.
|Experience (in years)||Length of Resume|
|Recent graduates Entry-level aspirants||Maximum one page|
|Ten years of experience||Maximum one page|
|10 to 15 years of experience||Up to two pages maximum|
|15+ years of experience||Two pages, sometimes three for exceptional cases.|
Now, How do you make your resume fit on one page?
A simple solution is to use a resume template. A well-organized and adequately formatted resume looks more professional and formal than one that is not organized. Using a resume template helps you organize every Section properly and ensures that everything is correctly placed. In addition, it helps you to remember essential details on your resume, ensuring that nothing important is left out.
2. Preferred Fonts and Font sizes
Which fonts should you avoid using so that the recruiter’s attention isn’t drawn away from the content? In resume writing, what matters most is that the font you are using is scannable and easy to read. According to studies, Classic fonts are still the best option.
If you want to be safe, Arial and Calibri are excellent choices. Some other classic fonts are-
- Times New Roman
- Use smaller fonts. Although a 12pt font was once the standard for university papers, that doesn’t imply you have to use it on your resume.
- To gain extra space, use a font size of 11 or 11.5 points. First, however, make sure that everything is viewable without zooming in.
- Use bullet points instead of paragraphs to list job or education descriptions. Short, to-the-point sentences are best.
- Use smaller fonts. Although a 12pt font was once the standard for university papers, that doesn’t imply you have to use it on your resume.
Neither your resume nor your application must contain any inaccurate information. However, here are some facts concerning the value of a well-written resume that every candidate should know.
1. Be honest
Overstating your achievements can raise a red flag that could come back to get you during an interview or perhaps prevent you from getting an interview in the first place. So, It’s essential to be honest.
2. Spelling and grammar
Your resume is a mirrored image of you as a professional. A resume with mistyped spellings and grammatical errors will create a sense of unprofessionalism from your side. Your resume spelling and grammar communicate volumes in your attention to element, professionalism, and preference for the task. Although writing isn’t your job, your ability to deliver yourself nicely matters a lot.
- Ask your friend or peer to proofread because human proofreading is best for a resume.
- Avoid first-person pronouns(“I,” “we,” “my,” etc.)
- Avoid using abbreviations
The disclosure of all critical information can play a crucial role in your hiring process. Stats regarding all the competitions you participated in! If you are an experienced applicant, what relevant experiences you have, projects you worked on and what impact your work creates in the previous organisations you worked on can impress your hiring manager in no time.
1. Projects and Competitive Programming ratings
The fundamental reason for listing projects on resumes is to expose employers to your abilities, reviews, and professional achievements that fit into their position. In addition, it provides hiring managers with examples of fundamental tasks where you align your knowledge and know-how to obtain results and move the corporation toward its dreams.
If you’re applying for an entry-level position, you shouldn’t have much experience, as most applicants are from college. As a result, employers do not require you to have any previous work experience. Therefore, the only method to distinguish amongst applicants is to look at their Data Structures and Algorithms competence. If you already have competitive programming experience, you will have the edge over others in the race!
How to display projects:
- However attractive your project might be, its representation on your resume is equally, if not more, important. An interviewer can lose interest in a project with poor description, leaving it unnoticed, while a strong description for an average project can do wonders.
- Numbers draw attention at first sight. As a result, attempt to include as many relevant statistics as feasible.
- Make sure all of your projects are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
- Highlight the most noteworthy projects in a separate section or as “Key Projects”.
How to Display Competitive Coding Experiences?
- Make a small section on your resume where you list the contests you’ve participated in and (optionally) how you did in them.
- You can also mention your highest ratings on platforms like Codeforces, Codechef, Leetcode and Topcoder.
- Likewise, you can boast about your achievements in ICPC.
The International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) is an algorithmic programming contest for college students.
Appropriate Format And Relevant Sections
It is requisite to use the appropriate and updated format of a resume compatible with an ATS. Here we’ll show you how to choose the best resume format.
There are three standard resume formats to choose from:
- Combination of the above two formats
Each of these formats has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and the format you choose will have a significant impact on your job hunt.
Here’s what we suggest:
In 99 per cent of circumstances, a reverse-chronological resume format is the best option.
2. The significance of sections in the resume
Dividing the resume into sections increases readability. Choose the sections of your resume that are unique to you. Begin by identifying the categories that are the most significant and remarkable.
The table below shows mandatory and optional sections of your resume.
The key facts about sections are-
- There is no one-size-fits-all solution to mention all your scores right from your school in your resume. It is entirely okay not to mention some of your scores if, for any reason, you don’t wish to.
- Sections such as volunteering, hobbies, interests, etc., are not game-changers, but they can help you fill in some gaps on your resume.
- About section– Hiring managers don’t prefer this Section anymore. But, if you have an excellent description of yourself, you can write it in your LinkedIn bio and paste its link into your resume.
1. Proper Way to Include Links on a Resume
With the developing popularity of LinkedIn, non-public websites, and social media systems, it becomes the need of the hour to encompass hyperlinks in your resume. By incorporating hyperlinks, you are demonstrating that you have a modern-day resume. It additionally provides smooth access to extra records and makes your resume clean to examine.
Hyperlinks to Include in the contact information
- Your LinkedIn Profile
- Your Github profile
- Your website, if you have one.
Include these URLs in your contact section, as shown below.
Image Source: Novoresume
Hyperlinks to Include in work experience
- Link of Blogs written by you
- Any hosted site
Note: Use short and personalised links. Don’t add those links which don’t work.
Refer to the image below to see an example of a well-framed resume.
Image Source: Code Like A Girl
Keeping in mind the above points, you can make a resume that can make you stand out among thousands of job seekers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Formal, relevant information, achievements over responsibilities, no grammatical or spelling mistakes, readable fonts and properly framed sentences.
Links to your outdated or irrelevant social media accounts should never be written in your resume.
Paying attention to details, describing your accomplishments in numbers and percentages will make your resume stand out.
Deliberately stuffed keywords or annoying buzzwords can be red flags in a resume.
The most captivating resume is the one that seems to match all of the requirements, necessary technical skills, work experiences, education, certifications, or licenses.
Congratulations! If you’ve followed all of our instructions up to this point. You’re undoubtedly an expert in the field of resume writing.
Finally, let’s review some of the essential concepts we’ve learnt so far in this.
- Use proper keywords.
- Use the suitable template.
- Focus on achievements.
- Include only must-have sections.
- Insert only working links.
Coding Ninjas is committed to assisting you in landing your dream job with its expert-designed curated guided paths.
It provides you with interview experiences, practice problems, adaptive online courses, blogs, mentors, and everything you need to become a perfect candidate.
By Vaishnavi Pandey