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Is It True That Over 75% of Resumes Aren't Read by Humans?
What if I told you that over 75% of resumes never even make it to human eyes? It's a myth or not? Lets have a look on that!
“Studies have shown that up to 75% of qualified applicants are rejected by ATS programs because they can’t be read” (Source: Article posted March 18, 2014, on Forbes.)
But is this accurate? Let's closely examine that claim! In this article, we'll explore what's behind this claim and find out whether or not a majority of resumes are truly screened out by Applicant Tracking Systems.
That Forbes article was written by the ‘founder of a resume service’, aka person behind a company that is helping people with their resumes for money. The entire article was more of an advertisement than an article. On April 17, 2018, CIO.com published another article that has been often quoted on the internet, like the Forbes one.
That article included a statement, “Most companies have thousands of resumes sitting in a database that they’ve never looked at. In fact, 75 percent are never seen by a real person.” Again, no relevant data or study is cited in support of this statement.
During my research, I found several resume-writing services and many articles that say their sources are these articles I mentioned or the search firm Preptel (which is now out of business), but what a ‘surprise’ — they were also offering resume-writing services.
I found one article from 2013 describing an example of the hiring funnel: “75 of those 100 resumes will be screened out by either the ATS or a recruiter, 25 resumes will be seen by the hiring manager.” That made me believe that this article became a primary source for that 75 percent statement.
Let me clarify: ATS does not automatically screen you out. However, if only 25 out of 100 candidates are seen by the hiring manager, it indicates that the recruiter has effectively filtered out applicants who were not a suitable fit for the role for various reasons.
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Is it really 75%?
Seventy-five percent seems like a striking figure, one that would undoubtedly draw attention and incite frustration in readers who feel it's unjust for so many applicants to be disqualified by ATS software. That’s why so many other articles and career coaches blindly adopt this lie without any proper research.
Over the past few years, I have spoken with dozens of recruiters about their hiring processes, and that statement simply doesn't align with reality. From my experience over the years, I can confidently say that 90-95% or more of all applications are reviewed by a human. Large organizations often employ dedicated teams to screen each resume and present preselected candidates to recruiters.
What happens to the remaining 5–10% of all resumes? Many of them are not viewed due to the workload of recruiters being higher than usual. Several resumes could be lost via technical issues, like not completing your registration. While it's true that a few recruiters might not perform their duties to the best of their abilities, but if they overlooked 75 out of 100 candidates, they would likely be out of a job.
Does the ATS Ready Template Really Work?
Over 100 applicant tracking systems are available, and there may be even more that I'm not aware of. When a career coach or self-proclaimed career influencer offers you foolproof tips for crafting a resume that will supposedly outsmart ATS algorithms and secure you an interview invitation, bear in mind that it's virtually impossible for them to test their methods against every ATS system.
Let me be clear, any resume template may get you the interview, but resumes don’t get you hired; only you can make this happen! Your resume is your intro, based on which you will get a call from a recruiter or invitation to an interview.
Those coaches are selling just a simple resume template that everyone could download for free as a template via Google.
How to Find Out If Your Resume Is ATS Ready
If you'd like to test whether your resume is readable by an ATS parser aka if it’s “ATS Ready”, here's a simple trick for you. If you're using a PDF format, press CTRL+A to highlight the entire text of your resume. Then, press CTRL+C and CTRL+V while viewing your Word document; if you can successfully copy and paste the text, your resume is ATS-ready. For other formats like DOC, RTF, or DOCX, as long as you're not using images in place of text, your resume should be ATS-ready as well.
Now you know the secret behind the ATS-ready resume, and you don’t have to pay a so-called career coach or Insta/TikTok influencers to get it. If you still need a resume template, here is a tip for you.
How to Get a Free Resume Template
👉 Use Google to your advantage - Search for "free resume templates" to discover a wealth of options without paying a cent. Tip: Check out Google Docs for high-quality choices! Search for "resume template google docs"
👉 LinkedIn Resume Builder - Did you know that LinkedIn has its resume builder? By clicking on "Resume" under "Jobs," you can import your profile and easily customize and export it as a PDF.
👉 Customizable Canva Templates - Canva has a broad range of stunning resume templates that are customizable to your specific style and industry. Just remember to keep it clean (do not add images) and simple for the ATS to read.
👉 University Career Centers - Contact your school's career center, where you can find free resources, including resume templates, if you are a student or alumnus.
👉 Online job boards - Keep an eye out for free resume templates on platforms like Indeed and Glassdoor.
👉 Microsoft Word's Templates - Microsoft Word includes several pre-built templates that any ATS would recognize. Simply go to the "New" tab to get started on creating that remarkable resume!
ATS algorithms may suggest to a recruiter that a candidate doesn't meet the necessary requirements (e.g., lacking the appropriate keywords in their resume), but ultimately, the reason for rejection is straightforward. You were not a good fit for the role. 42 percent of job applicants don’t meet skill requirements, so there was somebody better, or your resume is poorly written and not tailored to the job description. There are many ways to improve your resume and get noticed, but another article will cover that. Some people even try to use a fake resume to get attention from recruiters.
Many recruitment myths like 6 Second Resume Scan or this one are spread for years without any real proof that this is true or sources that are backing up those theories. These myths have only one goal: to scare candidates and force them to spend money on some “Resume templates that will beat any ATS” and give them hope that their investment will secure them a new job.
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