Creative resumes with pops of color, fun graphics and charts, or inventive layouts may grab a human recruiter’s attention, but the ATS bots don’t appreciate these extra efforts to stand out. Instead, these embellishments actually lower the odds your resume will make it through this initial cull.
ATS gets tripped up by any images, photos, logos, graphics, charts or tables that you might have included within the document. Even unusual fonts or fancy stylized bullet points, like an arrow, can be a problem, Francioso tells CNBC Make It.
“Some newer systems can read these kinds of things correctly, but the problem is you don’t know which kind of system you’re applying to,” says Francioso. “Older systems may render graphics or photos as garbled text. The file will look like it got corrupted with random characters everywhere and that’s what a recruiter will see if they find your resume in the system.”
TopResume found that 21 percent of resumes submitted through an ATS included graphics or charts that are unreadable to the software.
If you’re unsure if your pared-back layout might be misunderstood by ATS, Augustine recommends copying the entire resume, formatting and all, and pasting it into a plain text document.
“If weird symbols pop up, if things are out of order, that’s how the bot will read it,” Augustine says.