Unemployment is a serious issue in Malaysia that doesn’t just affect fresh graduates. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix to the problem and it’s a reality that we have to live with and try to overcome through what is within our own means.

Modern problems require modern solutions; or so they say, and that is definitely what a local netizen by the handle of @eryazmi or his real name Mohamad Heiry Mohd Azmi, tries to provide via a Twitter thread that has since gotten more than 9.3k likes and 7.3k retweets.

In the thread, Heiry, a seasoned graphic designer, gave a few tips and tricks so that Malaysians can get the best out of the first phase of their job applications; getting their resumes viewed by potential employers!

Here is a breakdown of the tips:

1. Understanding the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software used by employers


Source: Jobscan

Originally a software crafted to make the lives of major companies easier in the candidates selection process, ATS is now a staple of Human Resource managers worldwide with approximately 95% of companies using it!

With the emergence of ATS, the job of filtering through resumes is now automated.

So if your resume doesn’t match its filtering algorithm, you’ll never be shortlisted even if you’re a top student!

2. Not having “keywords” in your resume

He further explains that employers will program ATS to filter resumes based on certain keywords that they find relevant to the vacant position.

For example, a vacancy for an Industrial Effluent Treatment System (IETS) engineer may be programmed to search for these keywords:

  • The whole position name ie. “Industrial Effluent Treatment System Engineer”
  • The abbreviation of the position ie. “IETS Engineer”
  • CGPAs ranging from 3.0 to 4.0.
  • E-mail Address, Excel, Office, Words, Telephone, Chemical Engineering, as well as relevant experience in the field.

3. Your resume may not be ‘ATS-friendly’

Besides having career-specific keywords, you must also make sure that your resume fits well with the ATS software. Here are some examples:

  • Make sure the file format is compatible.
  • ATS doesn’t play well with PDF files, so make sure to use Microsoft Word .doc format when uploading if you know that the employer uses ATS!

So, how do we actually know whether they’re using ATS or not? Here’s Heiry’s explanation:

“If they request a PDF file format, they’re not using ATS. If they request formats other than PDF, there’s an 80% chance ATS is being used”

He further recommends playing it safe and just using a .doc format when uploading your resume.

4. Having too many images or graphics

Source: Designshack

Charts, bars, stars and other graphics may look pleasant to the human eyes, but not to a programmable software such as ATS.

According to Heiry, most resume templates online possess this flaw, which prevents from your skills being detected by ATS.

Instead of using graphics to rate your mastery of certain skills, use these instead:

  • Use descriptive words such as fluent, advanced and others.
  • Same goes to other sections of your resume such as name, phone number, and address, and instead of putting in icons or a map, write it down properly!
  • Use bullet points when listing down instead of using Roman numerics or a,b,c.

5. How to make sure your resume is ATS-approved

After following all the above steps, here’s one easy way to make sure you resume is ready to beat the ATS software:

  1. Open your resume in Microsoft Word and save as a “Plain Text .txt” format.
  2. Go through the content of the .txt file.
  3. If there are any missing words, symbols or if there is something amiss, fix the original .doc file.
  4. Repeat the above steps until you can easily read and understand the document in .txt format.

At the end of the thread, Heiry reminds hopeful netizens that not all companies use ATS, so always have two resumes ready when applying!

“Aways have 2 types of resume and cover letter on standby. One ATS compatible and the other a fancy one that pleases the human eyes”

One final tip Heiry tweeted is that ATS is mainly used by companies that have an “Apply Now” button that redirects to another page.

If the employer uses an e-mail address for sending resumes, that means they’re sorting them manually.

So make sure to use the correct file format okay!Hopefully, Heiry’s tips can help all of you jobseekers out there!