To get that first interview call, your résumé should be pristine and natural for anyone to read – from the layperson to a technical/military expert.

Businesswoman opening resume in letter envelope

Using common military or workplace acronyms in your résumé or LinkedIn profile without spelling out the base word at least once could be negatively impacting your job search because the applicant tracking system (ATS) or the person reading your résumé may not be familiar with them.

Why spell the words out? Employers’ representatives often choose specific keywords for ATS systems to filter and find the right candidates and may not use their related acronyms. Or, the acronym may apply to multiple base words which could also confuse readers.

So, when preparing your résumé, here are a few simple basic rules to help navigate your resume through non-human and human hands to an interview.

The first rule: when choosing to insert common acronyms, be sure to spell out the complete wording once. Abbreviations such as ATM for automated teller machine could have been spelled out as qualifications by the company as “automated,” “teller,” and “machine,” and the system would not recognize that “ATM” has the same meaning.

The second rule: don’t capitalize words the words that have acronyms (only capitalize the acronyms and proper names).

The final rule: take the time to make sure your acronyms are correct before you forward your résumé. Spell Check is not enough and easy mistakes can be costly – i.e., the common medical acronym “HIPAA” is often incorrectly written on medical-related resumes as “HPPAA”.