The internet has made it very easy for job seekers to search and apply for different jobs online. This means most companies are inundated with resumes and have turned to software tools like ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) to help make their jobs easier and more efficient during the recruitment process. Most hiring managers use ATS as their primary software tool to help them quickly evaluate potential candidates for any given job opening.
ATS automatically scans and processes each job application that a company receives and ranks them according to their relevant qualifications (the software will automatically produce a shortlist of qualified candidates to be reviewed by the hiring manager). If your resume doesn’t meet the requirements of the company’s ATS, your application will likely be rejected before a hiring manager even has the opportunity to take a look at it! If your application is not ATS compliant it will not come up in a search and you might end up missing out on a potential job opportunity. Resumes that are designed to be compliant with ATS software have a much higher chance of getting into the hands of a hiring manager, which is one step closer to an interview.
Make sure your application stands the chance of being viewed by a hiring manager, so it can make the cut for a potential job interview, by learning how to write an ATS-friendly resume with our expert tips and examples:
How To Optimize Your Resume For An Applicant Tracking System
1. Select the correct file type:
Unless specified in the application text, do not submit your resume in a PDF format. PDF’s are not compatible with all ATS software and this could result in an unsuccessful application. If there is no file format that is specified in the application form, stick to MS word formats including doc and .docx. Plain text is also an option for ATS resumes but limits your formatting options.
2. Only include relevant information:
A common mistake that many applicants tend to make when applying for a job is to include information that is irrelevant to the job position being advertised. Under experience and education, you should include information and points that relate directly to the position you are applying for. The ATS software will only search and identify select information, so adding more would be very unnecessary.
3. Use keywords:
One of the best ways to optimize your resume for an ATS is to add relevant keywords! These keywords are specific and are also known as your hard and soft skills. These skills should be listed on top of your resume to highlight your expertise. If you are unsure of what type of keywords to add in your resume, look up similar job descriptions and use them as a guide to assist you in building your customized resume.
4. Don’t use headers or footers:
Make sure you don’t use any headers or footers. Any information you place into a header or footer will not be seen or picked up by the ATS. It’s an unfortunate fact that many applicants were disqualified due to having their contact information in a header and it wasn’t read by the system.
5. Avoid charts, tables, images, and fancy fonts:
While all (most!) images, charts, and unique fonts look attractive to the human eye, they will not be seen by the ATS and are often interpreted incorrectly! If you have used a chart to display or highlight your skills, make sure to switch to bullet points or plain text. You should also consider removing any tables as well as sticking to the basic fonts such as Calibri, Arial, Times New Roman, or Cambria.
6. Use formal job titles and full names:
Using unique job titles like “Marketing Guru” may look good on your LinkedIn profile but will not be suitable for your resume. Always make use of a formal job title so the ATS can find and highlight your experience. Also, remember to write out the full names of months and years when listing experience and education to make it simple and easier to read.
7. Prepare your resume for humans too:
Getting past the ATS is just one step in the application process. Remember that you still need to impress the hiring manager or whoever is going to read your resume next within the hiring process. Prepare your resume so it is easy to read, logical, and relevant to the job.
9. Review your document in plain text:
Before submitting your document, check and then double-check it for any spelling errors! It’s helpful to preview your resume in plain text to see if all the relevant information will be seen by the ATS…
And, you are now ready to submit!