ATS Resume
10 September, 2018 in Resumes & Cover Letters

The following article will provide you with necessary knowledge on ATS resume and will give valuable recommendations on how to deal with it and make your resume successful.

It is a well-known situation when you find a job you would like to get, write a customized resume and cover letter, submit it and hope that it will be accepted and finally red by the employer. However, the reality is that resumes submitted online get lost in the net long before anyone can see them. Not everyone knows but almost 75% of resumes are rejected not by employers but by the ATS (applicant tracking system). What is ATS and how to beat it? The answers to these and some other questions will be provided in the following article. Find out more about ATS and the ways to outsmart it to optimize your resume. 

Applicant Tracking System: What Is it?

ATS is widely used by recruiters to sort numerous resumes they receive. This program is used to rank and select those applications that suit the system and company requirements best in order not to read all of them. 

Primarily, this tracking system was developed for large corporations, which receive thousands of application for open positions. However, later smaller companies implemented the software to optimize their hiring processes. Nowadays, a huge number of both big and small companies use this system. 

As a result, this tool is now widely used by a great number of companies, which made an application process a nightmare for many job seekers. It is caused by the fact that only ATS friendly resume will be selected by the system for further processing. 

How does the System Work? 

Unfortunately, deprived of a human factor, the system works based on some specific algorithms. It means that at the initial stage, the information provided by the candidate is not considered from the point of view of qualification. The system simply looks for resume keywords sorting out the ones, which have most of them. The idea of such approach is that the resume reader should pay attention only to those job applications, which are directly related to the offered position. It means that even if you are a qualified specialist who fits the position the best, you may not get the job simply because you have not considered the requirements of the ATS resume. As a result, if an applicant knows that the company uses applicant tracking system, he/she should keep it in mine while making a resume.

Tips on How to Writer Proper ATS Resume 

In order to understand why ATS accepts some resumes and rejects the other ones, analysis of 1,000 resumes was made to determine the most common mistakes. After the analysis, some features were outlined, which have influence on resume submission and acceptance by the system.

As a result, a list of tips was developed to help the applicants outsmart the system and write a resume that resume scanner will accept. 

Pay attention to the file type of your resume 

It is a common practice to submit resumes in PDF format. However, as it turned out, it is not the best file type if you want ATS to accept your resume. It is true that PDF files are considered the best for preserving resume format but they are not always ATS-friendly. It is strongly recommended to check what file types are allowed by the tracking system before submitting your application. If PDF is among them, you can freely use it. However, if it is not listed among other file types, you should check among the available ones. The best option in this case is to use simple .doc or .docx formats.

It should be stressed that nowadays resumes are not simply written for employers. Modern technologies have made it necessary to consider the needs of both a recruiter and a tracking system. Consequently, going with Word file will be a good idea, as it will help pass the ATS test and will be appealing to the recruiter. 

Do not provide important information in the headers/footers

If you provide important information and keywords for resume in footers, prepare to the fact that your resume will be rejected. The deal is that not all tracking programs can properly read footers and headers. As a result, the information provided there may not be scanned at all. So, if you want some information, as, for example, contact details, e-mail address, etc. be seen by the system, you should write them outside the headers.  

Use keywords 

Keywords help optimize your essay. Make sure you provide enough keywords, which will make your resume compatible. These words should represent your skills and knowledge in a specific field that you have obtained during the years of your work. Such approach will help you make an essay informative and interesting for recruiters, as well as ATS-friendly. 

However, if you find it difficult to determine which exactly keywords to use and which of them can benefit your application, you should look for actual job description of the position you are eager to obtain. Such descriptions will give you an understanding what kind of person is being looked for and to use these features as a description of your own personality. Besides, try to figure out what words and characteristics are most often used in descriptions and if you possess them do not hesitate to mention about it in your resume. 

The way keywords are placed in your resume also plays an important role. Such issues as, for example, frequency have to be taken into account while using them. Depending on the settings of a tracking system, it can determine how good your resume is and how strong your skills are in relation to the open position based on the frequency of keywords used in it. For example, you if you have determined that the word “industrious” is one of the keywords, you should use it at least three times in a resume. On the other hand, the other systems consider not the skill itself but the amount of it you possess, so it will be wise to indicate this information as well.  

If you find it difficult to use the same term a couple of times in your resume, follow a simple resume advice. For the first time, the terms can be used in a section describing your competencies. It can be done in a form of a list of your strong sides and skills. Then, use the same terms in the next section of your resume, for example in the section describing your education or work experience. Please note that if you have terms that can be used using abbreviation, you should write both short and long forms of them. 

The importance of indication for how long you have been possessing some skill is in that the ATS system reads this information differently. For example, if you indicate that you worked as a CEO in the company for three years, the system will calculate your overall experience of working as a CEO as three full years. However, if you simply indicated that you have experience of working as CEO, ATS will calculate your working experience itself and indicate it as, for example, six month. As a result, you will lose two and half years of experience. So, do not forget to mention your working experience to avoid misunderstanding.  

Do not use images, graphs and charts 

Considering that the companies’ managements use ATS first and only then read the resumes personally, it is not a good idea to include charts. If you use tables, graphs or other visual materials to present your experience, please note that they will not be visible for the system or will simply being omitted during the test. What is the point of graphs if the ATS rejects such resume? As a result, it will be better to provide text in order not to lose anything. 

Use bullet points

Properly written bullet points will be the best method for indicating your skills and accomplishments. Remember that the simplest the outline of your resume is, the better. ATS does not always read complicated symbols or interprets them incorrect. As a result, it is recommended to use solid circle or other simple signs for bullet points without using intricate characters. 

Simple resume design 

As it was mentioned above, electronic recruiters do not like complicated structures, signs and symbols. The same thing can be said about resume design. Complicated format of your resume will confuse not only ATS but also a hiring manager who may find it difficult to find important information due to complex resume structure. 

ATS-friendly Format of Resume

In order not to confuse ATS, it is strongly recommended to use simple hybrid format of your job application. This format includes a summary section in a form of bullet points, which presents your skills. The next section is Work history, which combines the description of your working experience and qualifications described above. 

Simple chronology presented in your resume will be easier to read by ATS. Consequently, hybrid format will be the best choice for your application. 

This is also a reason why functional format should not be used because it makes emphasis on personal abilities instead of chronology. 

Determining if Your Resume will Pass the ATS Test

In order to determine whether your resume will pass the ATS test or not you can do two simple checks: 

Create a plain-text file

If you want to submit your resume in a format different from plain-text document, you should do the following. Create a plain-text document, copy the information from your resume and insert it in the newly created document. After that check whether all the information was transferred properly. If some parts are missing or look incorrect, you may expect that your document will have the same look in the process of the ATS testing. Make necessary corrections in the original documents prior to submitting it. 

Use free ATS scanners

Free ATS scanners give you a possibility to check the correctness of your resume. If the results show that you are not good for that position, then your resume needs to be edited.

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