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6 Ways to Optimize Your Resume and Beat the ATS Algorithm

resume Aug 4, 2022

You may have spent hours thinking about all your previous qualifications and crafting them well into a good-looking resume, but is it ATS approved?

Today, the technology has advanced enough to help recruiters scan thousands of candidate applications in one day! An Applicant Tracking System is the reason behind this convenience. It scans your resumes using an ATS algorithm that filters out all the irrelevant candidates and goes forward with the ones that fit the requirements.


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The Importance of an ATS-friendly Resume

An ATS is used by almost every organization nowadays. A study shows that 75% of submitted resumes never reach a human; it passes through an ATS first.

Since the availability of online job portals, digitally applying for jobs has increased. And with this, there’s an advancement in online recruitment tools like ATS-compliant resume scanners. This tool is used for the convenience of recruiting managers to minimize their manual work by filtering out the best resumes.

Today, most companies use an ATS to scan resumes because they receive thousands of applications daily, and manually going through each one is tiresome. To pass this AI-driven software and get your application to the hiring manager, you need to craft an ATS-compliant resume.

Working on an ATS Optimized Resume

Enhancing your resume for an AI-driven automated tool takes practice. Here are some tips you can follow to have a resume that passes the ATS algorithm:

1. Simplify the Template

Don’t go overboard in an attempt to make your resume look unique! The ATS is not meant to understand all the fancy fonts and confusing design elements in your resume. And if it is unable to read it, your resume is going to end up in the wrong stack. Hence, to build an ATS-compliant resume, you need to streamline it by not complicating things!

Begin the process by selecting a simple template. Don’t load your resume with charts, symbols, graphics, columns, headers, footers, or tables. Insert headings like Skills, Summary, Work Experience, etc., to each section.

2. Customize for Job Descriptions

An ATS works on an algorithm that shortlists talents by catching keywords in your resume. The recruiters choose which keywords to feed into the system. These phrases help the ATS to fetch the best candidates that match the desired job requirements. But how would any seeking a job or looking for a job interview know what keywords to include?

The most common keywords are job titles, tools, industry jargon, education, and training. You can crack the algorithm by customizing your resume based on different job descriptions. Always form a habit of carefully reading the job qualifications, experience, skills, and requirements. This way, you will find all the necessary keywords to add to your resume.

3. Label Sections Precisely

All sections should be labelled appropriately. The ATS system can only read simple headings like “work experience,” “skills,” “educational qualification,” etc. Refrain from complicating things by including heading like “work I have done” or “projects I have worked on.” Be as simple as you can.

4. Select Correct File Type

Making your resume in Microsoft Word or Google Docs is preferred. They are easy to process for the ATS system. If you want to show an artistic portfolio, using Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, or any online resume builder is also a good choice. No matter what format you create your resume, always save it in ATS-compliant file types like .docx or .pdf.

5. Apply for the Roles You Qualify

While many jobseekers dislike an applicant tracking system, there is a solid reason recruiters depend on these technology-driven tools; the major one being receiving applications from unqualified or irrelevant candidates. And scrolling through a thousand of these is tiring. Hence, depending on an AI tool is considered better because an ATS discards such applications before they can reach a hiring manager.

So, only apply for the roles you fit in to pass the eyes of an ATS resume scanner. However, this does not mean you have to tick every box. Ensure you at least possess the core skills required for the role.

6. Avoid Applying for Various Roles in the Same Company

An applicant tracking system will immediately spot you when you apply for multiple positions in the same company. This creates a negative image of the recruiter because they have no idea where your interest truly lies.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply to two positions. If you think you possess the skills and talent required for both, go for it! But, when you do so, keep in mind to consider the hierarchy of the roles. For example, when you apply for both entry-level and managerial positions, you give the impression that you haven’t taken the time to evaluate the role.

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Keep Practicing!

Getting a perfect resume that truly shows who you are while also successfully passing the ATS is difficult. But don’t get disheartened! With enough practice and patience, you will get there.

Apart from these tips, keep in mind that you must stay transparent about your career. Don’t lie in your resume. Only include what you have done in your career history and be genuine to increase your chances of getting a job!


Author Bio:

Kelly Barcelos is a progressive digital marketing manager for Jobsoid – Applicant Tracking System. She is responsible for leading the content and social media teams at work. Her expertise and experience in the field of HR enable her to create value-driven content for her readers – both on Jobsoid’s blog and other guest blogs, where she publishes content Regularly.

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