Meet the Robots That Really Read Your Resume [Infographic]

You thought a human actually reviewed your resume?

In most cases… you would be wrong.

At large organizations, the volume of applications doesn’t allow for a human to even glance at the resumes they receive; Google alone receives about 75,000 resumes per month! Even at smaller companies, there is rarely time to review the hundreds of applications and resumes they get for each posting.

And this is where the robots take over. More accurately referred to as an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), these automated software packages filter the long list of applicants according to the keywords provided by human resources. In the end, only the top resumes survive the cut and are read by the recruiter. Some estimate the number of resumes that actually get viewed by human eyes: 50 out of every 1,000.

Given this reality, you need to work hard to ensure your resume makes it through the ATS and gets into the recruiter’s hands. To get the interview – you need to be one of the 50!

To help get you started in the right direction, take a look at this infographic from HireRight, which shares some important do’s and don’ts that will help make your resume robot-friendly…








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  • Lynne/CarlynServices

    Great infographic and great advice. The number of resumes that have graphics, charts and tables all over them is ridiculous. PDF’s are so hard to work with, so save us both time and send me a “word” document.

  • Steve Levy

    There is so much misinformation here. PDFs? Sorry that the resume writers have such a difficult time with them but any ATS that is worth a damn can read them.

    Know why this infographic fails? Because other than talking about using keywords from a typically bad job description, there’s no talk about performance – just formatting.

    Any recruiter with experience knows that there’s no such thing as a perfect resume so we actually read most of the things that come into an ATS. All other recruiters “rely” on the ATS because they’re not terribly good at recruiting.

    Which is why the maxim – Network first, send resume when asked.

    • Some good points, Steve — especially “Network first, send the resume when asked.” However, the way you recruit, which we applaud, is an outlier; not many recruiters work like you do.

      So the fact is that young professionals will deal with recruiters who are not terribly good at recruiting for quite some time — and they need to understand how to format their resume so they can survive the ATS filters used by those recruiters. Otherwise, they continue to get sucked into the resume black hole and other aspects of a very broken hiring system.

      Does this infographic have all the answers? No. But that wasn’t the intent.

      Baby steps, my friend.

      • Steve Levy

        Mark, lowering oneself to the weakest denominator isn’t an effective strategy because the ineffective recruiter still won’t know how to assess. The goal of getting an interview and then [hoping] either YOU can impress or THEY can “see” your inner talents just isn’t reality.

        Software (the ATS) and a reformatted resume won’t improve a jobseekers chances; you and I are obliged to let them know this and push HARD for reaching out, refining your honest message, learning how to handle a No and keep pushing for a yes.

        Sorry but short term fixes like loading up your résumé with keywords won’t get you that job…

        • Doris Appelbaum

          It may not get you the “job” but it will increase your chances of getting interviewed and/or considered.

          • Steve Levy

            Doris…if the goal is to game your way into an interview then somewhere inside you is a little voice saying, “You’re not good enough to get the job based on your performance so let’s ‘con’ our way in.”

            Any recruiter who falls for gaming certainly won’t be able to interview a person well enough to assess the person as a potential hire.

          • Doris Appelbaum

            Your comment offends me for many reasons, but I don’t have the time or the inclination to continue this dialogue.

          • Steve Levy

            It wasn’t meant to offend Doris – and reading it over a few times still doesn’t change the fact that you can’t fool all of the people. Copywriting doesn’t get someone a job, performance does.

    • Cyberats

      “It’s your fault not the machines nor the corporation, that there’s not enough jobs for everyone and you didn’t get the job.” – Meaning of all Resume Writing Guidelines.

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  • Dennis McDonald

    This infographic is STUNNINGLY useless.

  • Billy the Squid

    Do the ATS ‘robots’ distinguish the dates of a career timeline? Should I go in chronological order on a resume if the ‘desired’ experience was at the beginning of my career as opposed to being the most recent?

  • Randy

    The infographic explains why a qualified person can get an immediate rejection letter eventhough they are qualified to do the job. I have tested my theory and found that using two separate resumes; one without the keywords and one with keywords, the rest of the resume was identical. The resume with keywords got me an initial interview, the one without received an immediate rejection letter. If I had not performed the experiment, I would have believed I was blacklisted as my rejections were equal to my attempts.
    Networking helps but only if you know the person is on good terms with the hiring manager, otherwise the situation can backfire.