What is ATS and how to make your resume ATS friendly?

ATS is one tool used by almost every recuiter to scan resumes and shortlist suitable candidates. Surviving an ATS check and getting invited for a job interview requires a well-written and well-formatted resume that is mindful of ATS algorithms.

A resume acts as a first point of contact between you and your employer, therefore it is important for your resume to clearly demonstrate how capable you are. The recruiter looks for a qualified candidate which suits their job description through ATS, and eliminates those resumes which do not show up in the ATS.

Q1.  What is ATS?

ATS (or Applicant Tracking System) is a type of software used by recruiters and employers to sort and scan the job applications they receive for their open positions. It helps them to speed up the entire screeing process and move quickly to the next round, which is interview in most cases.

Q2. Why do recruiters use Applicant Tracking System?

The Applicant Tracking System helps the recruiter determine which candidates match the job requirements. The ATS sorts out the suitable candidates which recruiters use for further process.

There is competition for exclusive talent by the companies and it's getting even more difficult for recruiters to find the right talent. Online job postings can elicit hundreds of applications, many of which are from job seekers who aren't even qualified enough for the job. In order to avoid sorting through a stack of paper or a crowded email inbox, it gets essential for hiring managers to adapt to a solution that streamlines, and inecreases TAT of the entire recruitment process. So, recruiters and hiring managers use Applicant Tracking System(ATS) to keep themselves organized and efficient.

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Q3. How to make your resume ATS friendly?

There is no universal trick to match applicant tracking systems. Surviving an ATS check and getting invited for a job interview requires a well-written and well-formatted resume that is mindful of ATS algorithms.

  • Keep your fonts and formatting simple

Your resume must not be rejected just because ATS is unable to read it. The ATS will fail to read any artistic additions to your resume. To avoid this, keep your fonts and formatting simple. Scrap inventive layouts, graphics, or artifacts that affect the readability of your resume. Do away with any adjusted spacing and newsletter formatting.

Tip: Go with the clean, standard fonts like Arial, Verdana, and Times New Roman. Also, always send PDF files as they are ATS parsable.


  • Keep your headings conventional so that ATS can recognise the headings used

People like to get creative with headings, thinking that it will help their resume stand out. Unfortunately, unconventional headings can actually do the opposite. Use standard resume section headings. If you’ve written a different heading than normal — say “Major Abilities” instead of “Skills,” it may skip over that section if it is unable to determine what your heading stands for. Help the software do its job.

Tip: Use the standard headings “Work Experience”, “Skills”, “Publications” so that you don’t stand the risk of ATS placing your qualifications under the wrong categories, or misreading your headings altogether

  • Use targeted keywords

ATS looks for keywords while reading your resume. The recruiter inputs certain keywords and key phrases into the software, each relevant to the role they need to fill. Next, the ATS software will read through each resume, and determine whether it has enough keywords and key phrases to pass through the screening. If your resume passes the ATS test, it will successfully go to the recruiter for further process.

You can edit your resume to pass the screening by reading the hiring manager's very own job description. If they have included any keywords in the job description, it’s highly likely they’ve also input them into the ATS.

  • Don't include too many nonspecific keywords in your resume

You might think that by submitting a two or three-page long resume that includes all the keywords get you the job. However, it's not a good idea - even if it will help you in passing the ATS screening, it certainly won’t impress the recruiter. You can’t stuff your resume with an exhaustive content and hope to game the system into thinking you’re a perfect match. ATS software ranks you on the basis of how specifically your resume matches keywords and phrases in a job description.

Tip: Having off-target keywords can score your resume down on relevancy.To avoid this, research relevant keywords and ensure that your resume is concise and targeted. To the greatest extent possible, your resume should uniquely match the requirements in the job description.

  • Include industry jargons and abbreviations in your resume

It is a smart choice to adopt relevant industry jargons, terminology and abbreviations within your resume. It’s very logical for the recruiter to input industry jargon and abbreviations into an ATS. Therefore, you should optimize your resume to include these terms wherever possible.

Be sure to try out 'Resumod' which has ATS friedly format and helps in building beautiful resumes in minutes. With the help of stunning formats, professionally written phrases and job-specific keywords, you can create a well - structured resume in minutes and take your first step in getting your dream job.

This post was first published on Resumod Blog 

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