Resume Parsing FAQ
What is Resume Parsing?
Resume/CV parsing is an important feature of many Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). The ability to parse resumes allows for the automatic extraction, storage, and analysis of resume data. The information is then able to be categorized, sorted, and searched. Resume parsing is also designed to help candidates to populate the data from their resume/CV into the application, however it is important for candidates to review the application to ensure the data populated into the right fields.
At Roche, the data generated from resume parsing is purely used to help our candidates complete their application, to suggest skills and potential job matches for you. Our Recruiters/Managers may use the data that has been parsed to do searches for candidates who might match their job opening but they will review each applicant and their attached CV.
How to optimize your CV for resume parsing
Resume parsing results can vary based on resume format and order of words. Unfortunately, computers have their flaws; no system is perfect. Certain resumes are not properly structured or prepared to be parsed by these systems.
For best results follow some of our tips below. Many candidates have two versions of their CV/Resume, one that is for the resume parser (following tips below) and the other might be their normal one where they have put more effort into making it attractive etc.
Many companies and job boards use resume parsing, so the tips below are not only useful for applying for jobs at Roche.
When designing a resume to go through an ATS, we suggest you avoid:
- Text boxes
- Images: In the U.S., your resume should never include your photo.
- Graphics, graphs, or other visuals
- Columns: Since ATSs are programmed to read left to right, some will read columns straight across rather than reading column one top to bottom and then starting column two at the top.
- Headers and footers: Information in the header and footer sometimes gets dropped by the ATS completely. Make sure all text is within the document body.
- Uncommon section headings: Stick to conventional labels like “Education,” “Work Experience,” and “Technical Skills,” so the ATS knows how to sort your information.
- Hyperlinks on important words: Some systems will display only the URL and drop the words you linked from, so don’t link from anything important (like your job title or an accomplishment). Instead, paste in the URL itself or link out from a word like “website” or “portfolio.”
- Less common fonts: Stick to a universal font like Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Garamond, Georgia, or Cambria. Avoid fonts you need to download, which the ATS may have trouble parsing.
Here are some elements you can use without tripping up an ATS:
- Underline: But stick to using underlines in headings and for URLs. In general, people have been trained to see any underline within sentences as links.
- Colors: Just know that the ATS will return all text in the same color, so make sure your color choices aren’t vital to understanding the text of your resume.
- Bullets: Bullets are an important component of any resume, but stick to the standard circle- or square-shaped ones.
The main thing to take away when it comes to creating an ATS-friendly resume is that it will help even if you’re not going through an ATS. What an ATS is looking for in a resume is not that different from what a person is scanning for—so if you make a resume that works with the ATS, chances are it’ll impress a recruiter, too.
File FormatIn terms of file format, we recommend the following two file types: .docx vs .pdf. While PDFs are best at keeping your format intact overall, the .docx format is the most accurately parsed by ATSs. So if you want to get past the ATS, use a .docx file.
Make your resume easy to scan
In addition to making sure that your resume has the right content for an applicant tracking system, you also need to make sure the ATS can make sense of that information and deliver it to the person on the other end in a readable form.
Fortunately, ATS-friendly resume formatting is very similar to recruiter-friendly resume formatting. Like a human, the ATS will read from left to right and top to bottom, so keep that in mind as you format. For example, your name and contact information should all be at the top, and your work history should start with your most recent or current position.
Among the three common resume formats you can choose from—chronological, combination, and functional—ATSs are programmed to prefer the first two. Recruiters also prefer chronological and combination formats. If a candidates uses a functional resume it can confuse applicant tracking systems, and recruiters too. Without a clear work history to draw from, the software doesn’t know how to sort different sections of text.
Ultimately recruiters just want to find the info they’re looking for as quickly as possible. So making a resume ATS friendly will actually help your resume be more readable to recruiters as well.
At its core, what any applicant tracking system is programmed to do when it “reads” a resume is the same as what a person would do: It’s scanning for key pieces of information to find out whether or not you’re a match for a job opening. So when it comes to writing a resume that can work well with an ATS, you want to make sure that key information is there and that it’s easy to find.
The recruiter can decide which keywords to search for (when searching our candidate database) —usually whatever skills, qualifications, experience, or qualities are most important for performing the job. For entry-level roles, that might mean certain majors, whereas for a tech position, it might be certain coding languages.
So if you want your resume to work well with an ATS, you’ll need to include those important keywords on your resume. Look for the hard skills that come up more than once in a posting and are mentioned near the top of the requirements and job duties. Hard skills include types of software, methodologies, spoken languages, and other abilities that are easier to quantify. (The most important keyword could even be the job title itself!)
Depending on the industry, certain degrees and certifications might also be important keywords. Particularly in fields like nursing and teaching where state licenses are necessary, employers are going to want to know at a glance that you’re legally allowed to do the job you’re applying for.
Also make sure you put those keywords into context. Whilst the applicant tracking systems can recognize that a key skill or experience is present, interpreting the strength and value of that experience is still for people to do. And humans want to see how you used your skills.
SpellingBecause the resume parsing tools are analyzing for keyword matches, it’s vital that everything in a resume is spelled correctly. Misspelling certain words and phrases could immediately disqualify your resume and lead to missed employment opportunities. In addition to spell check have a few different people read over your resume to ensure everything is perfect.