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How to Write Resumes and Cover Letters That Get Through AI Screeners

It's getting pretty tough out there to land an interview, even when the job seems like a perfect fit.

What changed? It's not just the economy or the candidate pool getting larger. It's also the technology HR professionals are using to sift through candidates before they even get to the hiring manager.

Here's the deal: AI resume screeners are being adopted like hotcakes (does anyone else mix metaphors?), and they're screening highly qualified people out of the candidate pool pretty often.

If you're sending resumes to jobs you definitely qualify for and you're not being invited to interview, an AI could be sorting out your resume.

Fortunately, there are ways to improve your chances of getting your resume and cover letter noticed by both the AI screeners and the human hiring managers.

Here are some tips to help you write a resume and cover letter that pass AI screeners:

  • Personalize your document. While an AI screener may see your resume before a hiring manager does, it’s ideal to write your resume for a person. Hiring managers tend to appreciate language that appears professional and natural. Try to avoid using generic or repetitive phrases and instead use specific examples and achievements that demonstrate your skills and value. Yes, even on your resume.

  • Highlight your achievements. Instead of listing your responsibilities or duties, focus on your accomplishments and results. Use numbers, percentages, or other metrics to quantify your impact and show how you contributed to the organization’s goals. This can help the AI screener identify the most relevant skills and qualifications for the role.

  • Use keywords thoughtfully. Keywords are words or phrases that describe the skills, abilities, or qualifications required for the job. You should use keywords that match the job description and showcase your relevant expertise. Please also avoid overusing or stuffing keywords, as this can make your resume look unnatural or spammy.

  • Include soft and hard skills. Soft skills are interpersonal or behavioral skills that help you work well with others, communicate effectively, or solve problems creatively. Hard skills are technical or specific skills that relate to your field or industry. Both types of skills are important for any job role and can help you stand out from other candidates. You should include both soft and hard skills on your resume and provide evidence of how you have used them in your previous or current roles.

  • Consider adding a summary. A summary is a brief introduction at the beginning of your resume that summarizes your main qualifications and goals. It can help the AI screener quickly understand who you are and what you can offer. Writing a summary that is tailored to each job opportunity and highlights your most relevant skills and achievements for that particular job will get you the best results.

Formatting is also important when you're trying to get through AI screeners and scanners. Remember, AI is not a person; it's a program. Some programs are better than others. Others can only scan documents in some formats. Let's get into that.

Here are some tips for formatting your resume and cover letter to optimize your AI scan:

  • Use a compatible format. Consider reading the job application directions before submitting your resume and cover letter. Some companies using an AI resume screener may ask you to save your document as a .doc specifically. Saving your document in the correct format makes sure that the scanner can read through your text.

  • Use short, descriptive sentences. Use short, descriptive sentences that convey precise and clear information to help an AI screener parse your resume and cover letter. Avoid using complex words or jargon that may confuse the scanner or distract from your main points. The AI is likely not an expert in your field, so write it so a 5th grader can understand what you're good at.

This is part of what we train and develop in our 8-week revolving Get a New Full-Time Job Group.

If you'd like to land a new full-time job and you're getting nowhere quickly, reach out! At Saver Street, we're here to help you. One of our core values is to always do what is in the coachee's best interest. That means we'll tell you if we don't think our programs will help you and you're best served by someone else.

Feel free to book a complimentary consultation to talk to a coach or browse through our services to see if something there sounds like a good fit for you.

Now let's go conquer those darned AI resume screeners together. I know I use all of these tips each time I write a resume for someone. You can do it, too!

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