ATS friendly resume — what, why and how?
ATS, or Applicant Tracking System, is a piece of software used by recruiters to shortlist their ideal candidates who match their requirements. Ever wonder why you did not even get a first-round interview even after being perfectly qualified? Chances are that your resume was vetted by an ATS who did not let it reach the human eyes. And it is not just you.
About 75% of job applicants get rejected this way! If you believe that ATS is only used by a few companies, think again! About 98% of Fortune companies rely on ATS. This recruitment streamlining process has become one of the favorite tools of organizations of all shapes and sizes. So, if you are a job seeker who does not have an ATS-friendly resume, it is time to upgrade.
Why is ATS used? ATS is a very handy tool for big companies that receive thousands of resumes.
It helps recruiters find only the potential candidates. Or rather, it helps eliminate the least qualified candidates. However, since this is done by a robot, if your resume is not designed with the sensibilities of a robot in mind, you could get rejected even if you have the necessary qualifications. Although, ATS is not a very friendly device for a job seeker, it aids in increasing productivity for the recruiters.
Another reason is that it is non-discriminatory. It is not biased based on your age, gender, caste, creed, religion, or sexual orientation. This also makes it useful for most companies promoting diversity and inclusion.
An applicant tracking system is a robot that reads your resume. The employer feeds in the requirements or the job description. ATS sections out your resume and cross-verifies it against the job description fed into it. It is as simple as that.
What makes it complicated is that a robot has very limited senses. A robot who has been given ‘Search Engine Optimization' as a requirement of the candidate may not understand ‘SEO’ written in your resume. Your resume will be tossed out if this was one of the basic requirements.
If you meet all the basic requirements, your resume will be ranked by relevance. There are greater chances that the recruiter will see your resume if you are on top of the list made by ATS. In short, making ATS-friendly resumes is not as friendly as it sounds.
Here are some tips on how to keep your resume ATS-compliant:
Layout: Most of the time, a reverse-chronological order or hybrid resume format works. If you are using a functional resume, keep appropriate labels. Use sections to break down the resume into different parts, like work experience, education, and skills.
Sections: Keep relevant sections like work experience and skills. Ensure these sections are appropriately labeled. It is very unlikely that a robot understands "what I have done’ when compared to "work experience". Keep it simple and sensible.
Formatting: Restrict the use of tables, images, and infographics. ATS does not understand most of these. Use simple bullets to list things down. It is important to remember that once it passes ATS, it is going to be read by a human. So keep it appealing to your recruiter as well. Avoid giving crucial information in headers or footers.
File Format: ATS can read doc, pdf, and even plain text files. Some ATS may not read pdfs. Refer to your job advertisement and note down what it says. Never send a PDF if it mentions a Word document. A text document is not advisable as it restricts the creative space to make it appealing to the recruiter.
Keywords: Using industry-relevant buzzwords may help. However, to ensure your resume matches with what is fed into the ATS system, make sure you read the job description thoroughly. You can collect a few samples of the job description and use them to find more keywords that are common yet stand out. Do not overuse keywords. Over usage of keywords or copy-pasting the exact job description may be detected by the ATS and surely by your recruiter. Further, it is essential to add powerful action words to showcase what you have done, like "generated," "maximized," "solved," etc. While keywords focus on your skills, you can use this section to demonstrate what you have accomplished.
Use a resume template: Making a resume that parses ATS can be time-consuming and difficult. In this situation, use an ATS compliant template. Keep in mind that your resume should not only look good to the bot but also to your employer. It is vital that you curate your resume accordingly for each job role. Sounds like a lot to do?
Well, we have made it easy for you. At Begin, our professionals are focused on creating ATS-optimized resumes that suit your needs. We carefully understand your requirements and tailor them with keywords, give proper format and layout and provide you with resumes that get past the bots and stand out from the crowd. We create resumes that will help you land your next job without the hassle of spending time creating one so you can focus on preparing for your interview!
Test your resume: Copy-paste your resume into a plain-text document. If some of the formatting seems off, you may have to edit it again.
Already have a resume? Use our free resume review to get a report from our experts to ensure your resume is ready to land on your dream job.