7 Ways to Make Your Resume ATS Friendly

Applicant Tracking Sysytem

Every jobseeker in today’s world is aware of Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This is among the first hurdles that a jobseeker needs to overcome. Since ATS is believed to be an efficient way to track down the keywords and phrases present on a resume. They have a major influence in the hiring process and it is going to stay there in the near future. It will be surprising for the job seekers to know that over 70% of the resumes are rejected even before human eyes go through them. This article tries to make you aware of this way of sorting candidature of a particular company.

What is ATS?

Applicant Tracking System is a software used by hiring managers to sort out the most suitable candidates during the hiring process. ATS collects, sorts, scans, and ranks the job applications they receive for the open positions. It is interesting to know that a major chunk of Fortune 500 companies trust ATS to streamline their recruitment processes.

ATS behaves as an electronic gatekeeper for a company and divides a resume’s content into categories. It scans the resume as per the specific keywords and sees if the job application should be passed to the recruiter. It is the task of ATS to weed out the unsuitable applicants, and save the time of the hiring managers. Therefore, you need to keep this in mind, if your resume is not ATS compliant, even a strong candidate can be easily passed over.

Also Read5 Tips to Write a Resume that Beats the Initial 10 Second Review

Tips to get your resume pass an ATS


  1. Keep it simple and use minimum graphics

Usually, ATS does not track graphs or images, so either avoid them or use minimal. It does not perceive images and none of the information is passed through. To make your resume ATS compliant, keep the layout simple, and remember that “Content is King”.

While some ATSs have become advanced and more adept at accepting advanced resume format, they do not guarantee that a resume with fancy borders, lines, or symbols will be read and scanned. Avoid using these elements when creating an ATS-friendly resume.

  1. Use keywords as described in job description

Don’t forget to make use of correct keywords on your resume as per the job description provided. For e.g. – If the JD includes words like “Global Exposure” and you use “International Exposure”, chances are that the ATS bots won’t be able to read it. The software is designed such that it picks up keywords and phrases from your resume and gets it matched with the JD. ATS also finds out how uniquely you have listed your work experiences. For example – if you are applying in a software firm, the recruiter must have used these keywords in the JD –

  • JAVA
  • Python
  • C++
  • Coded
  • Programmed

In the next step, ATS will read the resume and determine if it possesses the desired keywords to pass through the screening. However, do not bombard your resume with related keywords and phrases, it will not be of any use and make your resume look cluttered.

  1. Use simple bullet points

It is easier for both the human eyes and the software interfaces to identify bullet pints than paragraphs. You can easily highlight your accomplishments and qualifications on the resume suing bullet points. Always use simple bullet points instead of elaborate symbols and intricate characters to avoid text scrambling. Choose any simple option like solid circles, open circles or even squares. This way, you will ensure that your resume is compatible with an ATS.

  1. Focus on skills and experience sections

A skills and experience section is mandatory to include and that must possess desired keywords. ATSs screen applications based on the years of experience and your skillsets, so categorize them nicely. Don’t forget to leave off the dates of your employment.

  1. Avoid spelling mistakes

ATS is not your hiring manager who can make assumptions what you actually mean if in case you have committed some typos on your resume. It will simply ignore that word and it is very much possible that it was something you wanted to be there on the resume. Because of such silly mistakes, you may jeopardize your chances to pass through the ATS scan.

  1. Don’t worry about the length

ATS functioning is not dependent on the length of the resume so you think of including all your professional details. However, don’t write your career history. ATS generate a summary of your resume data for hiring managers and not yield your actual resume. To make it work, use a simple but attractive resume format that keep the reader hooked.

  1. Select the right resume format and file type

Unless asked, never save your file in PDF format, as it is usually not compatible with ATS software. Always play it safe and stick to MS Word and save the file in .doc or .docx format.

It is a fact that ultimately people hire people, so it is always on the best of the interests of the jobseekers that resumes are written to impress the hiring managers. Keep in mind that the hiring procedure of not every company is ATS compliant. Always keep your traditional resume at check. Smaller companies do require resumes that can easily pass through human eyes. There should always be a descriptive and an eye-pleasing version of resume. Always research about the company before you apply for any particular job. Perform an in-depth review of the job description and use industry jargons wherever required. Take some trials before sending it out. If your resume does not pass the ATS test, then always optimize it further.

About the Author

Akansha Arora is a professional writer and blogger who loves to pen down her views on a number of topics that interest a reader. She writes covering myriad of fields that includes resume writing tips, job search advices, career advices, current trends in job search, career advices, current trends in job search like job alerts, visual resume etc and career advices.
Topics : Resume Writing