When Resume Parsing Goes Bad

Resume Writing

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When you are looking for a job, there are different types of ads to which you will respond. Some will be Craigslist style where you send your resume to a recruiter via a randomized email address. Others will be ads with an Apply button that you click. This button may take you to a company or recruiting agency website where you will be prompted to set up an account. However you apply, most resumes are parsed into an applicant tracking system. The resume is parsed by extracting certain information such as name, contact information, work history and education, and this information is used to populate the fields of your applicant tracking system record. The good thing about submitting your resume this way is that you do not have to fill in long, repetitious forms for each position with information that is already on your resume. The bad thing about parsing resumes is that in order for the applicant tracking system to parse your resume correctly, your resume needs to be very plain in format and text.
Diacritics, such as those accent marks found over the e’s in the word “resume” may cause your resume to be parsed incorrectly. Common parsing mistakes include your name ending up in the incorrect fields, one phone number that is parsed into several different phone number fields, incomplete address and missing work history dates. Incorrect information in these fields may mean that your resume does not come up in a candidate search run by a hiring manager.
Improve your chances to be called for an interview by casting a critical eye over your resume. A plainer resume format that should parse easily uses bold and plain text only. We create “ASCII” or .txt (plain) versions of your resume for just this reason– applying online and working with recruiters. Leave out the unusual diacritics and the ampersand (&). An ampersand will cause havoc when a resume is parsed. Clearly demarcate resume sections by adding a couple of line spaces between each section. If you are uploading a resume to a company’s applicant tracking system, you may have to fill out some fields by hand, while others are populated by the system. Check all fields for accuracy before you hit Send.