Simple Do and Dont

Simple Do’s and Don’ts of Applying To Jobs Online

 Applying to jobs online likely involves going through an ATS (applicant tracking system).  To increase your success with the system, here are a few simple reminders about preparing your resume and following proper process.


Simple Do’s and Don’ts of Applicant Tracking Systems:


DO provide your application files (resume/cover letter) in the format requested.  Almost all systems can read Word (.docx).  Some may request or convert files into .txt, and others may be able to read PDF.  Follow the instructions carefully.


When applying for a specific position, DO use that job title on the resume. The resume header is a great place for this content.


 Do not include the descriptor “phone:” and “email:” in front of the phone number and email address you provide on your resume.  These are space wasters that are not required.


When listing dates for employment or education, DO put dates to the right of the information. Systems prefer this location.


DO consider including section headers in all caps or larger font to make it easy for the applicant tracking system to categorize information.


If you are working towards a degree or certification that is a requirement for the position, DO include it on the resume — and make sure you include timeframes studied (years).


 Do not list your credentials (MBA, CPA, etc.) right next to your name unless there is a separator or comma between details. Without a separation, these credentials can get merged into your name.


 Do not include skills you don’t possess on the resume as an attempt to “trick” the applicant tracking system into selecting you. (Remember, the resume will eventually be reviewed by a human).


DO check your email after applying for a position online. Some applicant tracking systems acknowledge submissions, but because these are automated responses, it may be diverted to your spam folder. Read more about preparing your resume in this ATS Resume Checklist .



Thank you to Career Professionals of Canada and BeaResumeWriter for sharing these insights and tips in various resources.

Adrienne Tom

Looking to take your executive resume or job search to the next level to land your next job faster and increase your earning power? I can help! Visit me online at to learn more about my award-winning resume writing, LinkedIn writing, and job search strategies for top professionals and executives located across Canada and the USA.

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