ATS friendly Resume

How to make your resume ATS friendly?

Employers use various systems and processes to hire candidates. One of the processes being actively used to screen candidates is Application Tracking System(ATS). It is a process where the recruiters will not see your resume in the initial stages of recruitment. They will have bots which will scan your resumes based on the requirement fed to it by the employers. Your resume is shortlisted by the bot only if your resume meets the requirements and is ATS friendly. In a process like this, every word in your resume matters and counts for your place in the final round. There is no human intervention in this process. It is completely automated, and hence, your resume needs to be accurate for you to get through to the successive round. There are elements you have to remember while creating your resume for this process to act in your favour.

  1. Keyword search: The first and foremost point to remember while creating an ATS-friendly resume is keywords. Every resume that goes through this process will be rejected if it lacks the minimum number of keywords required as described in the Job description. Your resume might be the best of the lot, but if it does not contain the required keywords, your rejection is inevitable. Since it is a bot that acts, it cannot identify anything else other than the information that is fed into it. Therefore, you need to make sure to use the right words as described in the Job description. Every word that matches the keyword will gain you a point. Higher the number of points, higher the chances of getting a call for the interview. However, how will you know what the keywords are? The keywords that a recruiter usually looks for are present in the job description. Therefore, read the description carefully and pen down words that will match your resume to the requirement. More keywords can be matched in your skills and qualification section as they are the prime requirements. You have to include as many keywords as possible to clear the ATS process.
  2. Target titles: Application Tracking System works completely on keywords. Where you put them and where they match will make the difference. The job title is an element you cannot go wrong with. It describes your role and your responsibilities in your previous organisation. You must generically address your title. You might have a title that is different from the one you are applying for now but, if you know that the role offers the same duties and responsibilities, you can make your title a generic one. The title is what defines your position; hence you need to grab a point for this keyword. There will be a need for a few keywords that match the job title. You need to mention the one that is closest to the required title. This ensures that you include the most important keywords. It also adds as an advantage when the employer goes through your resume after the automated process. It will make you look like the perfect fit for the role.
  3. Skills: As mentioned earlier, skills can get the most points during the ATS process. You need to enter your skills in a manner that they meet the requirements perfectly. Your skills need to be in their demands. A prominent way to make a resume stand out is by adding diverse skills. Your skills section on your resume can make or break the deal during the recruitment process. It would help if you formatted this section correctly to draw attention to your resume. You must mention all the required skills (if you possess) at the top of the section. This will gain you points instantly. Your additional skills must come after the required set. This prioritisation will leave a positive impression. This way even the bot has no chances of missing out on any of your skills. Read the job description thoroughly to get a clear idea of what you should include in our resume. The skill section is the most important, hence do not commit any mistakes here.
  4. Experience: Your past work experience also adds much value to your resume. You need to mention the title of your role and briefly explain your responsibilities. It would help if you wrote about how the skills you possessed helped you perform in the organisation. It would help if you also mentioned the challenges that you faced and how you overcame them to make an impression. Include the skills that the challenges taught you and how they have prepared you for this role. You can also write about your accomplishments in your preceding role that will act as advantages in your succeeding role. Write about your responsibilities and expectations during the role and how you fulfilled them without any inconvenience whatsoever. The ATS looks for responsibilities and accomplishments as keywords in this section. What you did in the past will reflect what you will be doing in the future, hence making this section impressive to steal a positive impression.
  5. Keep it simple: Your resume sure does need to look outstanding, but should not be overdone. You need to fill in all details yet keep it simple. Firstly, the resume template that uses must not be loud. It would help if you chose a template that looks subtle and simple. Use basic font and font size. Avoid graphs, images or charts. Any intricate designs will get scrambled when the ATS scans your application. Therefore, use numbers over bullets and paragraph of explanation over charts or graphs. Do not include important information like contact details in the header or footer as not all ATS systems are capable of reading the text in them. Use different font sizes for headings and subheadings. Use keywords as headings in a larger font for the ATS system to differentiate between two sections.
  6. Cover Letter: This is an element that can make you stand out from the lot. Attaching a cover letter with your resume exhibits effort and interest in the role. Most organisation’s say it’s optional. However, it is gratifying to send one. Your cover letter needs to address the employer individually. You have to do your bit of research for that. It should include your previous role, experience and also your prominent skills. A Cover letter is an introduction to your resume. It would help if you did not rewrite the entire resume in your cover letter. You should write key points relevant to the job role you are applying for and address it to the employer singly. Your first paragraph needs to be catchy and should intend the recruiter to read further. You also need to list skills that match their requirements. Make sure to re-read your letter for any grammatical errors or informal language. In the end, add a call to action. Again, not all ATS systems can read cover letters, but it shows your competence if included.
  7. Consistency: While writing a resume, it’s not just the ATS that will be reading your resume. After being shortlisted, the recruiters will read the same resume before calling you for an interview. Therefore, you need to build a resume that clears the ATS round and also looks impressive to the employer. Avoid major mistakes that cause an ATS to dismiss your application, but remember that ultimately, the employer is the one who hires you. The resume needs to look appealing to the eyes of the recruiter and should also be formatted in a way that it passes the ATS round. Your skills and accomplishments need to be easily accessible to the system and should be conveniently visible to the eyes of the recruiter. Build your resume both for the ATS and the recruiter as well. Balance is the key.
  8. Save as Word Document: After all the effort you put in writing your resume, it is crucial what you save the document as. Always save your resume as a word document. This is comfortable for all ATS systems to view. A resume saved as a PDF might be viewed as one big picture by a few ATS systems. This will get entirely scrapped as ATS does not read images, charts or graphs. To avoid such a situation, you must save your resume as a word document. This will make sure that the entire resume is read by the system and will prevent missing out on any information.

Application Tracking Systems have almost replaced humans in the initial screening of the recruitment process, but not entirely yet. Most of the MNC’s now use ATS for the initial stage of recruitment. It has now become inevitable for a resume to not go through this process. The automated process saves much time for job seekers and the organisation. This computerised process assures a fair recruitment process and helps you apply for more companies to increase the chances of your placement. Build a resume that is compatible with the system and also catches the recruiters attention once shortlisted. Since, the hiring process is not entirely automated yet, even if you got through the ATS round by a small margin, you could always redeem yourself in the personal interview round. The above points will help you build a resume that clears the ATS round without a glitch.

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