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How to Write an ATS-Friendly Resume

Oct 22 2020

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software that helps to hire managers to simplify and streamline their recruitment processes. It accesses candidate resumes to filter the ones most suited for the job.

Although it saves long hours for the recruiters in reviewing the applicants in a jiffy, it does not always favor the right candidates. This means that despite you possessing the desired job skills, your resume could never make it to the recruiter’s desk if it fails the bots test. So before you impress a human eye, perfect your resume to match the ATS algorithm.

You can always use a free ATS resume checker to avoid any problems. Here is a list of pointers to keep in mind when creating an ATS-friendly resume.

Pick and use the right keywords

ATS drives on keyword searches and scans through the resumes to pick the ones matching the job posting. So, during job search look for the keywords used in the job description or employ search tools to identify. If you aren’t sure of the keyword frequencies, it is best to stick to the most used words or to have a mix of keyword densities. Remember that balance is key to measure the quality and quantity of the keywords.

Pay attention to the resume format

An impressive resume is no good if it doesn’t get detected by the ATS. This means that choosing the right file format is as important as the other resume-building steps.

Although both .doc and .pdf files are acceptable, the functionality of both is debatable. A doc file is a safer option but may appear disorganized as opposed to a pdf file that helps in retaining your file layout.

Unless specified by your recruiter, it is advisable to use either of these file types.

Choose a readable page layout

Improper alignment and complex designs can confuse the ATS thus increasing your chances of rejection. Likewise, including graphics or tables highlighting your education section or achievements may attract the human eye but doesn’t work for ATS screening.

A clean and simple resume template is not only easy on the eyes but also fastens the scanning process. That said, your resume need not be a boring one. Replacing fancy templates and fonts with properly structured bullet points can help you a great deal.

This way you can not only lessen the risk of the ATS scrapping your resume but can also leave a positive impression on the recruiter’s eyes. For this, the key is to choose friendly resume templates over fancy ones.

Match your resume to the job profile

A one-size-fits-all approach is long gone. It can only hamper your recruiting process. This means that when applying for similar job titles at the same time ensure that you add a unique touch to both applications. Simply put, understanding the job requirement and tailoring your resume accordingly can get you a step closer to your dream job.

When customizing your resume, add the job-specific keywords and also highlight your role as the right candidate. This is likely to make the ATS rigorous scanning procedure smoother. It will also make the recruiter see you as a reliable candidate among other job seekers.

Cross-check your resume’s ATS compatibility

You can now improve your job success rate by analyzing your resume for ATS compatibility. You can do so by using any of the free online ATS scanning tools available. Most of these tools also provide feedback on the areas your resume needs to improve. With the help of these free tools available online, you can now rectify the areas that are likely to go undetected such as the data crammed in the headers and footers.

Avoid multiple job applications at one time

ATS also filters multiple job applications sent by a single person for the same job profile. Thus, not only do your submissions go as a spam activity but also raise questions on your credibility as an applicant. In such a scenario, it is advisable to wait until you hear from the recruiter. Alternatively, you can also seek confirmation via email or telephone.

Now that you are aware of these pointers, use them to avoid your resume from getting flagged. While not all ATS can scan cover letters, including one is a choice you can make.

Crafting an ATS-friendly resume and beating the applicant tracking system can help you clear the first step. Likewise, a well-defined cover letter focusing on your key skills can further improve your chances. Optimize your resume to make it catchy and true to your personality without being casual. It can also help you describe what you can get to the job, besides mentioning your work experience, contact information, and any other important information. As likely said, a killer cover letter can get you the job of your dreams.

Guest Author Bio

Divya Bandodkar is a Content Strategist at Jobsoid. In spite of hailing from an IT background, she chose to take up writing as her profession. Her passion for writing got her out from the lines of code and placed her in between the sheets of paper. To experience a seamless application process and to keep a close track of its status, apply via Jobsoid. The Jobsoid blog can help you get accustomed to the hiring process besides letting you know some HR tips and tricks you can have up your sleeve. This applicant tracking software, designed to help recruiters and applicants alike, is a one-stop solution you should consider.