5 Tips To Get Your Resume Past AI "Robots"

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June 26, 2024
Edited by
Camille Trent
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min read

3 key takeaways

  • Resume screening software will likely review your resume before hiring managers do.
  • To write an AI-friendly resume, you need to incorporate the right keywords and qualifications.
  • Teal’s AI Resume Builder can help you create a resume that makes it past the ATS “robots” and impresses real recruiters.

Standing out in your job search has always been a challenge. But now you don’t just have to capture the attention of human recruiters. In many cases, you need to first make it past the company’s artificial intelligence (AI) screening software before your resume ever lands in front of a hiring manager.

That said, AI is always working on behalf of the company, looking for the keywords and experience the hiring manager dictates. In other words, the human is always driving the process, not "robots." All the clues you need to advance are likely right there in the job description.

An estimated 70 percent of employers used AI as part of their hiring process in 2023, with the majority using AI to wade through resumes and job applications more efficiently. AI resume screening tools can quickly process the information included on resumes and surface the best-match candidates for a job opening.

Sound like a lot of pressure? It can be. Fortunately, this guide can help you figure out how to get your resume past AI and in front of the hiring manager. You’ll learn:

  • How AI fits in the recruitment process
  • Tips to get your resume past AI
  • Common mistakes to avoid when preparing an AI-friendly resume

Struggling to land interviews with your resume? Get started with Teal’s AI Resume Builder for free.

Understanding the role of AI in recruitment

From candidate sourcing to interview scheduling, small and big companies alike have found plenty of ways to use AI for improving the recruitment and application process. But it's also one of the most misunderstood tools.

Teal's Director of Talent, Mike Peditto reveals some eye-opening details about AI in recruitment:

There's generally a big misunderstanding of how recruiters and hiring teams are using AI, and the biggest is that, in most situations, AI is not the decision maker but rather a tool that can help hiring teams move faster.

While AI can automate a lot of processes like scheduling and emailing candidates, the primary instance AI automatically rejects candidates is when there are set requirements needed in the job, such as a number of years, degree, or work authorization. These applications usually have questions known as 'knockout questions' that can trigger an automatic rejection.

And when it comes to the misconception every ATS grades your resume with a specific score, Peditto shares:

In the select ATS systems where AI assigns a score to a resume based on certain skills—which is not the case for many—recruiters still need to go through and check the resumes to be sure candidates are qualified for the job. There's still a person involved.

AI resume screening is one of the most popular uses of this technology in the hiring process. These automated systems quickly scan resumes for:

  • Relevant skills
  • Years of experience
  • Key information
  • Important words or phrases predetermined by the employer

Some resume screening or ATS algorithms then score and shortlist candidates who are the best match for the job duties and requirements included in the job description.

Put simply, it’s a fast and easy way for companies to pull out the resumes that best match the job requirements. 

Resume screening vs applicant tracking system

It’s easy to confuse applicant tracking systems (ATS) with resume screening tools—and the two do overlap. However, ATS software isn’t synonymous with resume screening.

Here are the biggest differences:

resume screening vs applicant tracking system

Most ATS include built-in resume screening functionality, along with other features for resume parsing, refining job postings, scheduling interviews, and more. ATS tools are broader and assist with overall recruitment management, while AI resume screening tools typically focus on automating and improving only the initial screening process.

How to get your resume past AI

You need to get your resume approved by AI before it lands on the desk or in the inbox of a human recruiter.

Peditto has some guidance for making that happen:

The best advice for satisfying some type of AI screening is to meet the 'must have' qualifications for the job and be sure you show it on your resume. Of course, this isn't a guaranteed way to get an interview, but making sure you don't fail any knockout questions and including relevant keywords and necessary skills is crucial. 

Even in a world where AI is scoring your resume, if you're receiving a low score it's usually because you're missing the core skills needed for the job. Write your resumes to the job descriptions and the skills and keywords being asked for, not to try to trick a computer.

So, how do you follow the recommendations above to get your resume past the AI "robots" and one step closer to your dream job? Here are five strategies to help you out:

1. Start with an ATS-friendly template

Your resume isn’t the place to get creative with fancy templates or to show off your design skills. Resume screening tools need to be able to easily identify and process the information on your document, so simpler is always better than flashy when it comes to resume design.

Starting with a resume template (Teal’s library has plenty of free and paid options—all of which are compatible with ATS and screening tools) will help you keep your resume easy to review.

If you do decide to start from your resumes from scratch, make sure to:

  • Pick standard fonts: Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, Georgia, and Cambria are all popular options. Pick one font and stick with it.
  • Choose the right file type: Review the job post carefully for any directions or relevant information about how to submit your resume. If the employer lists a desired file type, honor that request. Don’t see instructions? Here’s how to figure out if you should submit a PDF or Word doc resume.
  • Use white space: A cluttered resume will confuse both AI and human resume screeners.

2. Use a clear format and structure

Related to the above, the overall format and structure of your information makes it easier for both AI screening tools and potential employers to decipher.

Algorithms need to be able to parse information from your resume, analyze it, and compare it to the job posting. Resume formatting issues make it tough for the tool to find and use the details it needs.

If your document does make it into the human hands of a hiring manager, they won’t spend long reviewing your resume. Estimates state they only look for seven to nine seconds before deciding how to move forward.

That means this isn’t the place for fancy formatting. Your document should be as well-organized and as easy to read (or skim) as possible by using:

  • Clear headers: Organize your resume content into distinct sections (for example, work history, key skills, education, etc.) and label each with an intuitive header in a bold font.
  • Bullet points: A giant wall of text is overwhelming. Use bullet points to list your skills and previous job duties so hiring managers can quickly find the information they need.

Struggling to polish up your structure? In Teal’s AI Resume Builder, click over to the “Analysis” section to get expert recommendations—covering everything from your structure to your keyword usage—to help  make your resume even stronger.

Teal's analysis score grades resumes by best practices
Teal’s Analysis Score assigns a resume grade and highlights issues to address.

3. Find and use the right keywords

You’ve likely already heard about the importance of tailoring your resume for every job. The point of your resume is to show you’re an undeniable fit for an open position, but you can’t clearly connect those dots if you’re using the same resume across all job opportunities.

Tailoring your resume is the process of looking at specific job descriptions, identifying the most important information, and then naturally including that on your own resume.

Start by taking a close look at the job posting and asking yourself questions like:

  • How many years of experience is the position asking for?
  • Is the employer asking for specific education requirements? What are they?
  • What technical skills are required for the position?
  • What about soft skills? Are there certain personality traits the employer is looking for?
  • Are there relevant keywords or terms that receive a lot of emphasis in the job posting?

Take notes as you go through the job description with a fine-tooth comb. Then compare your list of qualifications with your own experience and draw those parallels by incorporating relevant information on your resume. 

Think it sounds like a lot of work to find and use the right keywords? It doesn’t have to be. In Teal’s AI Resume Builder, you can attach a job description to your resume and click over to the “Matching” section. There you’ll see your overall match score as well as suggested keywords to add to your resume. It helps you check the right boxes—without all of the legwork.

Teal Matching Mode suggests keywords from the job description to add to a resume
Teal’s Matching Mode shows how a resume compares to the job posting and which keywords to add.

4. Quantify your achievements

Here’s another common piece of advice that any career coach or resume writer will give you: quantify your achievements. Incorporate metrics and real-world proof wherever you can, especially with your work experience section and your professional summary. 

Honestly, it’s difficult to tell just how much importance screening tools place on quantified bullet points. However, taking the time to add digits and emphasize impact is helpful for several reasons:

  • Metrics often naturally incorporate relevant keywords screening tools are programed to look for
  • Metrics make your resume clearer and more precise, improving the accuracy of AI screening tools
  • Metrics can align your experience with any key performance indicators or desired outcomes listed in the job posting

Plus, when your resume does make it past the resume screening robots and in front of the hiring manager, your quantified achievements are much more likely to impress than vague claims and buzzwords.

This is another area where Teal’s AI Resume Builder can help. Within your work experience section, select “add an achievement” and then press the “write with AI” button. Teal will use the job title to automatically generate three metric-driven achievements you can edit and use. You can prompt AI to try again or add more filters and prompts to further refine your results. 

Teal AI Achievement Generator creates three resume achievements at a time to choose from
Teal’s AI Resume Builder will automatically generate three metric-driven achievements at time. 

5. Embrace (rather than avoid) AI

There are plenty of fears about the role of AI—especially among job seekers who view it as yet another hurdle to get over in the search for their dream job.

But in reality, AI can be a huge boost for candidates. With Teal’s AI Resume Builder, you can use tools like ChatGPT to write a resume or use AI job search apps like Teal to assist with every step of process.

Check out the 6 best AI job search tools for more ideas of how to use AI to land a job.

3 common mistakes to avoid when preparing your resume for AI

Now that you know how to increase your resume’s chances of making it past AI, here are three common mistakes to avoid in the hiring process below.

  1. Incorporating images: Screening tools often struggle to scan graphics and heavily-designed resume formats, and they can distract from your content anyway. Keep it simple and stick with a text-only file for your resume.
  2. Using insufficient spacing: Both hiring managers and AI tools prefer resumes that are easy to read. A cluttered resume makes their job a lot harder. Stay focused on relevance and ensure you have plenty white space for a document that’s more balanced than burdensome.
  3. Over-optimizing: There’s an art to optimizing resumes for ATS and screening software. You want to include enough keywords to demonstrate relevance without venturing into keyword stuffing territory. If your resume reads like a long list of buzzwords or a carbon copy of the job posting, you need to focus more on your experience and less on jamming in relevant terms wherever you can. 

Pro tip: Aim for a 70% Teal Match Score when optimizing a resume for a job description if your resume feels too keyword heavy when fully optimized.

Build your most robot-friendly resume with Teal

The reality is that your resume will likely need to make it past artificial intelligence and an ATS before it has the opportunity to be read by a hiring manager.

That can be intimidating for job seekers, but it can also be an opportunity to rethink the way you approach your resume. Teal’s Resume Builder can help by:

  • Providing ATS-friendly resume templates
  • Comparing your resume to the job description
  • Suggesting must-have keywords and skills to include
  • Analyzing your resume and offering expert-backed recommendations
  • Generating impressive, metric-driven achievements

Get started with Teal for free to create a resume that’s equally impressive to AI and real recruiters.

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Kat Boogaard

Kat is a freelance writer focused on the world of work. When she's not at her computer, you'll find her with her family—which includes two adorable sons and two rebellious rescue mutts.

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