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Do you apply for jobs and feel like your resume never gets noticed? Maybe you haven’t created an ATS-friendly resume? Well, you’re not alone. Companies receive many applications for one position, and because they want the best candidates, they use an Applicant Tracking System.

Applicant tracking systems track and filter the wheat from the chaff. This way, only the best candidates are passed on to the recruiter.

It’s easier to beat the ATS than you think. Here, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about the applicant tracking system and how to create an ATS-friendly resume.

Applicant Tracking System

An applicant tracking system is a software that recruiters use to screen, filter, and rank candidate profiles according to qualifications. Candidates who pass the first screening from the software are usually prepared with a well-optimized and ATS-friendly resume along with other credentials. They are then directed to another person who further scrutinizes the applications.

Applicant tracking systems were initially used by larger companies receiving hundreds if not thousands of applications per job post. However, the use of ATS has become commonplace for companies of all sizes in current times.

The ATS works by categorizing the contents of a resume, such as education and work experience. The system then scans the data for keywords that a recruiter has fed it.

The idea behind the system is to weed out candidates who don’t seem to fit the job description. The recruiter will then have an easier time going through profiles of candidates who are a better fit.

Even if you are a qualified candidate, a bland resume will hurt your chances in passing the software, making ATS-friendly resume is an integral part of standing out. 

Importance of ATS-friendly Resume in the Hiring Process

Here is why ATS is necessary for the hiring process.

Saves time: Companies that receive lots of applications per job posting can save time spent screening resumes manually. 

Increased accuracy: Even with expansive databases, tracking systems help businesses find the best candidates within the shortest time possible. 

Linkable with social platforms: It’s possible to link ATS to social platforms so that a job reaches more people. 

Lowers the cost of hiring: Various variables determine hiring costs, such as human hours spent looking for candidates and adverts. With ATS, most of the work gets done within minutes, thus reducing human hours spent on the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What resume format is best for ATS?

To create an ATS-friendly resume, the best and recommended one is the reverse-chronological format. This format places the most relevant skills in descending order. 

Can ATS read tables?

ATS cannot read content in tables, photos, or boxes. Graphics make a resume appealing and easy to read for a human, but a machine cannot read them, and it’s best to avoid them.

Do employers like resume templates?

Yes, employers don’t mind resume templates because they make your portfolio look neat and professional. Using a template will also save you the time and effort you’d have used up formatting the document.

What’s the ideal length for a resume?

1-2 pages are the ideal length for a resume, especially for entry-level positions. However, the one-page resume myth doesn’t hold for people with many years of experience. So, don’t shy from sharing your work experience if you feel it’s relevant to a job for fear of exceeding the page count.

How to Write an ATS-Friendly Resume

Now that we know what ATS means, how it works, and its benefits during the hiring process, let’s look at how to write one.

ATS-Friendly Resume

Use the Right File: Applicant Tracking Systems vary, and while some are compatible with different file formats, others aren’t. Most systems will request that you use a PDF or word document, so it’s better you create your ATS-friendly resume using these two formats.

Don’t use Headers and Footers: Job seekers often share their contact details at the header or footer of a Word document. Sadly, most ATS don’t read content saved on headers and footers. You’ll get disqualified from a job you’re highly qualified for doing this. The machine will assume you’ve not filled out all details in your resume if it can’t read your contact information.

Optimize your Resume: Usually, the recruiter will input keywords that the bot will use to filter out candidates. Knowledge of search engine optimization comes in handy in this case. You’ll need to look at the key skills the employer wants. These are listed in the job description.

Combine both longtail and short keywords without overstuffing. Overstuffing of keywords will get you past the bot, but the human recruiter will not appreciate it in the slightest.

For example, if you’re writing a tech resume, the employer will want to see keywords such as “Python,” “C++,” “C#,” “SQL,” etc.

Customize your resume: Different jobs will require different skills and work experiences. You’ll need to customize your resume to fit each job you apply for. Long gone are the days when you’d print many copies of a resume and send them to different employers.

Mind your Headings: It’s okay to get creative with your resume, but you may confuse the AI when you use headings that are too unique. It’s advisable to stick to common headings like “Work experience,” “Skills,” “Education.”

Use acceptable fonts: Some fonts look great to the eye, but a machine cannot read them. Use common fonts such as Times New Roman, Calibri, Arial, and Georgia to be safe.

In a Nutshell

Most recruiters are using ATS to speed up the hiring process. As a job seeker, it’s important to write your resume with ATS in mind. This guide details the best ways to write ATS-friendly resumes.

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If you want more help in making an ATS-friendly resume, then visit our candidate services page to get professional help.

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