Online Job Applications: Tips to Optimise Your Resume and Stand Out - MyCareersFuture (2023)

If you’ve been applying for a lot of jobs but not hearing back from anyone, your resume mayhave been rejected by software – the Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

Over 90% of large companies are using ATS for their recruitment process, especially in a recession when they are flooded with thousands of job applications.

This is why optimisingyour resume for an ATS puts you in the eligible candidate pool, ahead of 75% of applicants.

What are Applicant Tracking Systems?

ATS is software used by companies to manage candidates applying for their open positions.

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It’s used by over 90% of large companies and the majority of SMEs are moving towards this too.

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When you apply for a job online, your resume may not be going directly to the inboxes of recruiters or hiring managers.

It’s probably being processed by an ATS. This also means that once you pass the software screening, you are already in the top 25%.

How does ATS work?

The system sorts through resumes and turns them into a standard basic format, before comparing them against the job description to see which are the closest match.

For example, the ATS looks out for skills and keywords that hiring managers have listed in the job description.

They will compare them against your resume.This way, the recruiter or a hiring manager only reviews resumes that have passed the ATS screening when deciding who to interview.

Chances are that these candidates are the ones who are most likely to be a good fit.

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What companies in Singapore use ATS?

A survey by Kelly OCG estimated that 66% of large companies and 35% of small organisations rely on such recruitment software.

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According to Jobscan, 98% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS, including companies that have offices in Singapore such as Nike, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Amazon, and Adobe.

Google and Facebook developed their own ATS.

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Online job portals such as LinkedIn and Indeed also have an ATS to help companies sort their candidates.

So when you apply for a job online, there’s a high chance that an ATS is being used.

How to beat Applicant Tracking Systems

  • Pay attention to words or phrases used multiple times in the job descriptions and insert them in your resume.
  • Make sure the important keywords appear on your resume two to three times. Optimising the keywords for an ATS does not mean cheating the system if you actually have the relevant skills or experience.
  • Don’t use tables or columns as the ATS may not be able to read your CV.
  • Use PDFs or Word documents because these are your safest choices. The ATS may unable to scan through other types of documents.
  • Kept your font simple. Use Times New Roman, Helvetica, Garamond, Georgia or Arial because the ATS is not sophisticated enough to recognise unusual characters. It works best with simple formatting and clear wording.
  • ATS scans for words, so avoid including images, especially if they contain any text.
  • Don’t get too creative. Use “Work Experience”, not “Jobs I’ve held” or anything more complicated to list your work experience. You want it to be really simple for the software to understand.
  • Don’t use headers or footers as the information might not get picked up.
  • Your resume is for both ATS and recruiters. While optimising your resume for ATS is crucial, it should also be clear and easy to read to attract recruiters or HR managers.

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Drawbacks of ATS

Even though ATS reduces employers’ time to screen through resumes, it also has drawbacks.

Hiring companies may miss out on top talent because their resume is not optimised for ATS screening.

Also, some companies may still screen all applicants again to confirm the ATS screening.

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As such, you can have an attractive resume with aesthetic visuals to apply for more creative positions.

If you don’t want to optimise for the ATS, then apply for jobs using online job portals that don’t use an ATS.

This article is contributed by TalentTribe.

Online Job Applications: Tips to Optimise Your Resume and Stand Out - MyCareersFuture (1)

Did you know?

A profile with an updated work experience on MyCareersFuture is 75% more likely to be noticed by employers.This is because the MyCareersFuture jobs portal allows employers to view candidates’ work experience conveniently, without even having to download individual resumes. This helps them to identify potential talents quickly.

So, if you’re looking to stand out and get noticed by more employers on MyCareersFuture, don’t forget to update your work experience on your profile!

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Stay on top of your job search in just 3 steps:

  1. Log in toMyCareersFuturewith your Singpass
  2. Click on your name at the top right corner, then on ‘profile’ and scroll down to ‘work experience’
  3. Fill up the relevant fields and add your latest work experiences. Remember to set your profile to ‘open to opportunities’.

Get noticed by employers while job-hunting. Log in to MyCareersFuture and update your work experience now.

Online Job Applications: Tips to Optimise Your Resume and Stand Out - MyCareersFuture (2)


How do you stand out in online job applications? ›

The 9 Best Tips for Submitting an Online Job Application
  1. Thoroughly read job descriptions. ...
  2. Create an original cover letter. ...
  3. Identify key words and tailor your resume. ...
  4. Make sure your responses are on target and error free. ...
  5. Maintain one candidate profile per company. ...
  6. Fill out all fields within the application process.
Jul 11, 2012

How do I make my resume stand out visually? ›

How to Format a Modern, Visually Appealing Resume
  1. Add a professional summary. ...
  2. Be concise. ...
  3. Highlight the important information. ...
  4. Utilize quantitative information whenever possible. ...
  5. Use clear section headings. ...
  6. Create white-space. ...
  7. Use common fonts. ...
  8. Recommended Reading:

What can I put on my resume to make it stand out? ›

Simple resume writing tips to help you stand out
  1. Keep your resume short and direct. ...
  2. Create an original resume template. ...
  3. Highlight relevant skills and experiences. ...
  4. Demonstrate results with numbers and metrics. ...
  5. Craft a career snapshot. ...
  6. Optimize your text. ...
  7. Think beyond your job duties. ...
  8. Use the right language to stand out.
Feb 21, 2023

How do I maximize my resume at ATS? ›

Use simple formatting. Avoid headers, footers, tables, templates, borders, lines, symbols (bullet points are fine), shading, fancy fonts, font colors other than black, tables, columns and boxes. Write out months and years so it's readable by ATS systems.

What are three tips for online application etiquette? ›

7 Rules for Online Etiquette
  • Be respectful. ...
  • Be aware of strong language, all caps, and exclamation points. ...
  • Be careful with humor and sarcasm. ...
  • Yes, grammar and spelling matter. ...
  • Cite your sources. ...
  • Don't post or share (even privately) inappropriate material. ...
  • Be forgiving.

What is one thing that makes a candidate's application stand out to you? ›

These can be professional skills, areas of expertise, personal qualities, or any relevant experience. Also, consider any impressive accomplishments from your past or career goals that speak to your commitment to the field. Think of ways to out-do the other candidates.

What are 3 ways to make your resume stand out? ›

5 Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out
  • Respond Directly to the Job Description. ...
  • Describe Accomplishments, Not Responsibilities. ...
  • Quantify Your Accomplishments. ...
  • Use the Summary Section for Distinguishing Details. ...
  • Ignore Irrelevant Information.

What is the most appealing resume format? ›

The chronological resume (also known as the reverse-chronological format) is the most popular format and the best resume format for experienced candidates. The chronological resume emphasizes your work history section, where you list information about current and past jobs with the most recent job first.

How do I make my resume look professional? ›

How to create a professional resume
  1. Start by choosing the right resume format. ...
  2. Include your name and contact information. ...
  3. Add a resume summary or objective. ...
  4. List your soft and hard skills. ...
  5. List your professional history with keywords. ...
  6. Include an education section. ...
  7. Consider adding optional sections. ...
  8. Format your resume.
Feb 28, 2023

What impresses employers on a resume? ›

Resume Do's
  • An organized layout is VERY important.
  • Put format first.
  • Triple-check spelling and grammar!
  • List experience in chronological order.
  • Identify your achievements: Challenge, actions, and results.
  • Show leadership.
  • Incorporate statistics.
  • Use words such as achieved, created, and influenced.

How to get your resume noticed and stand out from the competition? ›

Be clean and concise

Schweikert suggests sticking to clean and simple resumes, since they are legible across all platforms. Hyperlinking to your portfolio or LinkedIn profile instead of including that information elsewhere on your resume is also an easy way to preserve space, she says.

What are ATS keywords? ›

What are ATS keywords? ATS keywords are specific words or phrases employers identify as requirements for a specific position, and therefore you should use them on your resume to help you get noticed by employers.

What is a good score on ATS? ›

So above 80% ATS score is always good to get a dream job.

Does ATS read PDF? ›

ATS's accept PDF formats all the time without any loading issues. A PDF (the printable format) holds together much better than the Word (the editable format) does. Only unless it specifically states it will only accept Word, then you must.

What is the most important rule of online etiquette? ›

What is the golden rule of netiquette? "Do not do or say online what you would not do or say offline."7 Before posting a comment or publishing a status update, ask yourself if you would feel comfortable saying the same thing face-to-face to everyone who will see it. If not, don't post it.

How can a strong candidate stand out? ›

7 ways to stand out from the crowd
  1. Add a personal touch. ...
  2. Do your research. ...
  3. Start doing the job already. ...
  4. Make use of your other skills and experience. ...
  5. Show your creativity. ...
  6. Show some grit and resilience. ...
  7. Demonstrate a growth mindset.

What personal qualities make you stand out from other applicants? ›

Here are 10 intangible skills that will set you apart in your job search
  • Exhibiting Optimism. ...
  • Being Kind. ...
  • Being Intellectually Curious. ...
  • Developing a Strong Work Ethic. ...
  • Possessing Empathy and Self-Awareness. ...
  • Having Integrity. ...
  • Being a Person of Your Word. ...
  • Having Good Follow-Up Skills.

What to say to stand out on an application? ›

Use the right keywords. One of the best ways you can make your application stand out is to make it more findable. This involves using specific keywords for skills that recruiters or hiring managers might be looking for in your resume and cover letter.

What are the four top resume strategies? ›

Top resume strategies
  • Sell yourself and your brand.
  • Identify your transferable skills.
  • Highlight your accomplishments.
  • Applicant tracking systems.

What are the 4 things that should be at the very top of your resume? ›

Commonly suggested parts are your contact information, resume profile or summary, experience, education and skills.

What makes a strong resume? ›

Include up-to-date, relevant information, experience, skills, and examples in all of your resume sections. Attach a meaningful cover letter that will sweep the recruiter off their feet. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Stick to the truth.

What is one item you should omit from a resume? ›

There's no need to include personal information on a resume such as your social security number, marital status, nationality, sexual orientation, or spiritual beliefs. In fact, it is illegal for employers to ask for these personal details.

What are the 6 things that should be included on a resume? ›

Key Elements of a Resume
  • Personal Information. Name Current and Permanent address (may be omitted from a resume posted on the web) ...
  • Objective. In one short sentence summarize your goal for your job search. ...
  • Education. ...
  • Work and Related Experience. ...
  • Awards and Honors. ...
  • Activities/Hobbies. ...
  • Skills. ...
  • References (3-5 people)

What is the most appealing color for a resume? ›

Black and white create the highest contrast possible, so it is considered one of the best color schemes to use on a resume. You can choose a pale background and intensive dark lettering. Just keep in mind that your resume may be printed in black and white, so don't use pale on pale.

What are some things you should not include on a resume? ›

What you should never put on your resume
  • A career objective. Put simply: A career objective is largely obsolete. ...
  • Your home address. ...
  • Soft skills in a skills section. ...
  • References. ...
  • Stylized fonts. ...
  • High school education. ...
  • Your photograph. ...
  • Company-specific jargon.

What kind of resume do most recruiters favor? ›

In most cases, the reverse-chronological resume is the best choice. It is the format that is most widely used, therefore it is the most familiar to recruiters and Human Resources representatives, and it fares well with those pesky applicant tracking systems.

What are key words that employers look for on a resume? ›

5 keywords employers are searching for in your SEEK profile
  • Job title. Employers search for candidates whose experience best matches the role, so a good way to get noticed is to use the most typical name for your job title. ...
  • Skills. ...
  • Industry. ...
  • Role preferences. ...
  • Career level.

Which skill is most attractive to an employer? ›

The top 5 skills employers look for include:
  • Critical thinking and problem solving.
  • Teamwork and collaboration.
  • Professionalism and strong work ethic.
  • Oral and written communications skills.
  • Leadership.

What words do resume scanners look for? ›

Resume scanners will quickly read a resume to find the words and phrases relating to the specific requirements of a job posting.
Here are some important keywords to consider for your resume:
  • Budget.
  • Certification.
  • Customer service.
  • Engage.
  • Metrics.
  • Presentation.
  • Project management.
  • Technical.
Feb 25, 2020

What fonts pass ATS? ›

List of ATS-friendly fonts
  • Arial.
  • Calibri.
  • Helvetica.
  • Trebuchet.
  • Avenir.
  • Verdana.
  • Montserrat.
  • Garamond.

What are the 3 keywords in job specification? ›

What Is A Keyword In A Job Description? Keywords might sound like a technical term, but it's really just a way to describe the words that are most important within a job description. Keywords usually take the form of skills, qualities, credentials, or job titles.

What can ATS not read? ›

Remove images, columns, tables, fields, text boxes and graphics so the ATS can quickly scan your text for keywords and phrases. The ATS may not be able to read data placed in images, tables, and text boxes, so it's best to avoid them altogether.

Does ATS prefer Word or PDF? ›

Word documents are the preferred resume file type for applicant tracking systems (ATSs) because they are easier to parse than a PDF, so if you are applying for a job through an ATS, make your resume a . docx (or . doc).

What are keywords in recruitment? ›

Keywords are words or short phrases that relate to requirements for a specific job. Hiring managers use keywords to sort through resumes so they can focus on applicants with the skills and experience they're looking for. Many companies also use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to find the most relevant applicants.

Is it better to send a resume in Word or PDF? ›

The best format for your resume at the moment is a PDF. A PDF resume is readable by ATS and also keeps your formatting and illustrations in place. You can use an online resume builder like Enhancv which downloads your resume as a PDF.

Which font is best for ATS resume? ›

10 Modern, ATS-Friendly Resume Fonts
  1. Garamond. Garamond is a group of old-style serif fonts often used in print publishing. ...
  2. Calibri. Calibri became a go-to font with the rise of Microsoft Office. ...
  3. Cambria. ...
  4. Georgia. ...
  5. Helvetica. ...
  6. Times New Roman. ...
  7. Arial. ...
  8. Palatino.
Apr 6, 2022

Do Google Docs resume pass ATS? ›

Are these resume templates ATS-friendly? Google Docs resume templates are ATS-compliant, so the formatting, fonts, and margins are easy for the systems to view.

What makes you stand out from other applicants applying today? ›

If you say you love their brand, say why. If you say you are highly motivated, talk about why this is and what got you to where you are today. What is valuable to you – It's important to highlight skills that you think are valuable to the employer but talk about skills that you value in yourself as well.

How do I make myself sound good on a job application? ›

How to make your job application stand out
  1. Be a recognisable name. ...
  2. Make your application easy to read. ...
  3. STAR technique. ...
  4. Take time to tailor it. ...
  5. Develop an online presence. ...
  6. Make good use of your hobbies and interests. ...
  7. Make sure you have perfect spelling and grammar.

How can I impress a job application? ›

  1. Apply for Jobs for Which You Qualify.
  2. Write a Targeted Cover Letter.
  3. Target Your Resume to the Job.
  4. Lead With Your Strengths.
  5. Prepare for Phone Screening.
  6. Prepare for the Face-to-Face Interview.
  7. Take Time Off for the Interview.
  8. Dress and Act Appropriately.
Dec 27, 2022

How do I submit a strong job application? ›

5 tips for writing a great job application
  1. Take your time. Rushed applications that are not personalised will be immediately obvious to employers and can give the impression that you don't care about getting the role. ...
  2. Speak their language. ...
  3. Sell yourself. ...
  4. Keep it relevant. ...
  5. Include a cover letter.

What are your three qualities that make you stand out from other applicants ?*? ›

Standing by your word shows honesty, integrity, and dependability, all of which are intangible skills that can set you apart from other candidates.

What sets you apart from other applicants? ›

6 Ways You Can Differentiate Yourself from Other Candidates
  • Demonstrate That You are a Leader. ...
  • Show That You are Capable of Solving Problems. ...
  • Exhibit Strong Work Ethic Skills. ...
  • The Ability to Be Able to Work with a Team. ...
  • Excellent Communication Skills. ...
  • The Bottom Line.

What makes you a good candidate over other applicants? ›

Your skills and qualifications. If you can prove that you've got all the skills that the company is looking for in a candidate, you'll have effectively answered the question. Your passion and motivation. You can highlight how good of a company fit you'd be and how much you love working in your field or industry.


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