How to Beat the Resume Robots in 2020 with an Optimized Resume

How to Beat the Resume Robots in 2020 with an Optimized Resume

A new year often brings hope for a big career change, and if you’ve resolved to earn a promotion or change jobs in 2020, you’ve likely placed “update resume” at the top of your to-do-list.

The job search, however, has evolved in recent years. Today, more than 80 percent of U.S. companies use some form of artificial intelligence in their human resources efforts. While this technology is intended to increase efficiency and is often used to eliminate unconscious bias during the recruitment process, these “resume robots” (commonly known as applicant tracking systems or  ATS) can leave qualified candidates out in the cold, simply because their resumes are not optimized correctly. 

“These systems will weigh a resume in a variety of different ways, so optimization is a strategy that you have to use,” explains Ashford University Director of Career Services and Alumni Relations Grace Williamson.

Williamson and the Career Services team are helping Ashford students and alumni conquer “resume robots” using Jobscan, a tool that will evaluate the contents of a resume or LinkedIn profile and optimize it so that every word, heading, and even the font, will be recognized positively by the ATS.

“Jobscan was developed to help job-seekers maximize their application process by leveraging the analysis method utilized by the top 15 applicant tracking systems and LinkedIn Recruiter,” she says.

Optimize Your Resume with Jobscan

Through a partnership between Ashford University and Jobscan, every current student and alum can access the tool for free twice via You can upload your resume or LinkedIn profile along with a job listing to which they would like to apply, and Jobscan will provide optimization recommendations. For additional reports, students can contact Career Services

Given that the majority of Ashford University students and alumni are working adults with competing priorities for their time, JobScan is a fast and effective way to prepare a resume for a job search in 2020.

“This platform provides 24/7 access at a time convenient for your schedule and will further improve your chances of being identified as a well-qualified candidate by recruiters,” Williamson explains.


How Applicant Tracking Systems Read Your Resume

Think of applicant tracking systems like email spam filters. They are the gatekeepers that pre-filter resumes upon submission — in a matter of seconds — and eliminate low-ranking resumes from the pile. Applicant tracking systems apply the same approach to every resume, regardless of your experience.  Their functions include:

•    Scanning resumes for keywords and key phrases
•    Utilizing algorithms to mathematically score resumes for relevance
•    Filtering content and candidate resumes that may not be relevant

Only those resumes that are deemed most qualified will be forwarded to a real-life recruiter, and Jobscan estimates that 99 percent of Fortune 500 companies now use ATS as a resume filter. This makes getting your proverbial foot in the door even more difficult and can pose a major challenge to anyone who doesn’t realize they’re taking an outdated approach to writing a resume, Williamson explains.

“In all likelihood, to have the greatest chance of success, you’re going to need one resume to upload to an ATS, and a beautiful resume that you bring with you on a job interview,” she adds.

How Jobscan Works

When Jobscan users upload a resume or LinkedIn profile along with a desirable job posting, the system scans the content to find matches for that job. It analyzes everything from the job title to your dates of employment, and the tool will send you a report with recommendations to improve your chances of getting through an applicant tracking system. Categories on the report include skills and keywords, job title match, and education match, among others. The tool also will examine the keywords that describe your hard and soft skills. 

Jobscan can make recommendations so you can tailor your resume to meet ATS requirements, but it also can help you target regional job openings that fit your skills and qualifications.

“Jobscan provides job seekers with actionable feedback and suggestions and matches them to job opportunities within a 50-mile radius of the zip code listed in their profile,” Willaimson adds.

Make Your Career Move in the New Year

With 2020 in full affect and new opportunities posted daily, now is the time to lay the foundation for your next decade of success. To get started on your resume or cover letter, practice your job interview technique, or schedule time for career coaching, contact Ashford University’s Career Services team or connect with an advisor through the “My Career” section of the student portal.  


Written by Ashford University staff

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