I know how much you want to impress with a stylish resume. You want to have all the expensive and flamboyant resume templates with heavy designs. But the truth is, the fancy resume only complicates things, not just for the Applicant Tracking System, but for recruiters as well. And this is true for Canadian jobs too. All of that design and fancy creativity won’t matter when your resume gets to the Canadian ATS.
Most tracking systems convert your resume to a text-only document in order to scan it. What this means is that all that formatting will be lost. And worse still, the CATS may not be able to retrieve even the important information on your resume. It ends up in the dark hole of irrelevant entries never to be seen by human eyes. So whether you’re the best qualified for the job or the most experienced, you’d lose it over some fancy formatting.
Thankfully, I have put together 10 things you must avoid in your Canadian resume if you want to beat the Canadian Applicant Tracking System.
Avoid these text elements in your Canadian resumes
- Text Boxes: This is another very bad idea because the text may not be visible to the system along with the box.
- Columns: Most Canadian ATS are programmed to read from left to right. Your columns will not be recognized. The system will not know that it is supposed to read one column from top to bottom before moving on to another. Your resume will end up not making much sense.
- Headers and Footers: Even if you must have these, it should simply be decorative. Don’t put any important information in the header or footer as they will be dropped by the CATS.
- Avoid less common Fonts: It is best to use fonts that are commonplace and readily available on multiple systems and versions. Times New Roman, Arial, Cambria, Georgia, and Helvetica are good examples. Don’t use fonts that will need to be downloaded.
- Uncommon Subheadings: The CATS is programmed to know sections like “Experience”, “Education”, “Soft Skills”, and so on. Do not get funky and write “Where I’ve Schooled” instead of “Education” or “What makes me tick” instead of “Soft Skills”. The CATS will not be able to understand or analyse it.
- Don’t put hyperlinks on important Details: It is very likely that the Canadian ATS will see this as a URL and not a word. And the system is not programmed to go look up your details on the Internet. If you must add a hyperlink, add a separate word for it.
Avoid these graphical elements in your Canadian resumes
- Tables: This is not a good idea as most Canadian ATS cannot figure it out. During the scan your resume will be muddled up by the system.
- Logos: Simply irrelevant. May cause more harm than good.
- Images: Whether it’s your photo or other graphics, a Canadian resume doesn’t exactly need the visuals.
- Charts: I know, right? But there are people who just want to impress with all of these details. A pie chart or histogram is most likely to be lost by the CATS. Avoid it like a plague.
There are a few things that may not be so bad on a resume though. Bold, Italics, Underline, Bullets and Colour are a few. While the CATS may still put all of this into a uniform rundown text, at least you can be sure no information will be lost. The plan is to show what you’ve got, not please the recruiter’s eyes.