When you submit a resume to an employer, it is first checked by specialized applicant tracking software, or ATS. Over 95% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS to scan resumes, and smaller organizations follow their example. This software checks the relevance of the resume with the target position. If your application comes across as irrelevant, it’s likely to get tossed. To help you avoid such a situation, we have prepared expert tips to help you compose an ATS-friendly resume.
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Write resume that will pass the ATS: 9 tips
Apply for jobs where you meet qualification requirements
The main purpose of ATS software is to weed out irrelevant applications to ease the hiring managers’ work. So, if the software doesn’t find certain keywords that describe your work history, education or credentials, it may reject your resume. Make sure that you meet minimum qualifications – if you don’t, the application is likely to get tossed.
Use keywords from the job posting
The software screens each application to find matches with the job posting and employers’ requirements. Some types of ATS also give resumes certain ratings based on their relevance to the job postings. So, use the exact words and phrases from the job posting to describe your skills, licenses, skills, and experience. If you struggle to pick the right keywords, pay writers to write my resume as resume experts know how to help you beat the ATS.
Add Skills section
The skills section not only showcases your strengths as a professional but also helps pass the ATS. You can use it to list skills, areas of expertise, specific software, and certifications mentioned in the job description. If you put the Skills section closer to the top, it will make the document even more ATS-friendly since the software values the keywords placed on the top of the page higher.
Write out all acronyms
Whenever possible, avoid slang and use commonly used terms. Some ATS types may not recognize acronyms, especially if these acronyms aren’t widely used. Since you don’t know how each specific ATS scans acronyms, the best resume professionals recommend that you always use both an acronym and the full term. Example: Social Media Management (SMM).
Use plain language
To improve your chance of being shortlisted, use simple words that are easy to understand even for people outside your industry. Sophisticated words and phrases may confuse the ATS. Say, if you write “Customer Satisfaction Guru” instead of “Client Relationship Manager”, the software might assume that you don’t have the right experience.
Don’t try to cheat the system
Some applicants try to cheat the ATS by writing keywords in white to get selected. Yet, these tricks make little sense as the software displays all words in the same color, and the hiring manager will reveal these tricks immediately.
Use standard section headings
Sometimes job-seekers get creative trying to catch the hiring manager’s attention. However, if you get too creative, your resume may not pass ATS and the hiring manager won’t receive it. For example, use the traditional resume structure with your name and contact info at the top, then write the resume summary, skills, work experience, education, and other section.
Choose traditional resume headings that ATS will recognize:
- Professional Experience
- Training and Certifications, etc.
Use simple formatting
ATS is designed to scan text in the first place. Certain types of software may not read images, charts, graphs and other visual elements correctly. So, the experts recommend that you use paragraphs and bulleted lists only.
If you write keywords incorrectly, the system may not recognize them. Proofread the resume carefully to ensure the correct spelling of each word. For a better result, hire someone from a resume services company. A resume expert will not only fix grammar and spelling, but also recommend how to improve the resume in general.