Have you ever applied to multiple jobs without hearing back? This can feel frustrating but know that you are not alone. Did you know that around 70% of resumes are not even seen by employers?
When it comes to applying for jobs online, optimizing your resume for applicant tracking systems (ATS) is essential. To increase your chances of getting noticed and landing an interview read on to learn to optimize your resume for applicant tracking systems.
It seems obvious, but to optimize your resume for applicant tracking systems, you first need to understand what ATS is and what its purpose is. So, what is ATS?
These are computer algorithms that help employers filter and rank resumes based on specific criteria. Employers use them to filter out unqualified applicants and streamline the process of finding the most suitable candidates. They are used by most large companies and an increasing number of small companies as well.
If you’ve ever applied for a job online, then your resume has most likely gone through an ATS. Although they make the hiring process simpler and more efficient for employers, their criteria can sometimes be too rigid, allowing highly qualified candidates to slip through the cracks.
It is crucial to design your resume in such a way that you don’t get passed over by these algorithms.
Pick a strong base format
Start by selecting a strong base format for your resume. While there are various formats to choose from (chronological, functional, combination), consider one that highlights your skills and experiences relevant to the job you're applying for. In most circumstances, a chronological resume, listing your work experience in reverse-chronological order, is the most effective.
If you are building your resume from scratch and don’t know where to start, check out our previous blog for some extra guidance. Choosing the right base format to highlight your skills and experience will provide a solid foundation for optimizing your resume for ATS.
Choose an ATS-friendly resume template or builder
To ensure your resume is compatible with ATS, using an ATS-friendly resume template or builder can be helpful.
These templates are designed to meet the technical requirements of applicant tracking systems, such as using standard fonts, appropriate headings, and optimized formatting. Using such templates can help your resume pass through ATS scanning more effectively.
Keywords, keywords, keywords
Tailoring your resume to fit the job description is always important, especially when ATS is involved. Keywords play a crucial role in optimizing your resume for applicant tracking systems.
These systems search for specific keywords and phrases relevant to the job description. To increase your chances of getting noticed, carefully review the job posting and identify the keywords used. Incorporate those keywords naturally and frequently throughout your resume, especially in the skills, experience, and summary sections.
However, be cautious to avoid excessive keyword stuffing, as it may appear unnatural and harm your chances. In addition, it is best to avoid acronyms, as ATS sometimes misses these. Instead, be sure to spell keywords out completely.
Use common and intuitive language for your headings
When crafting the headings for each section of your resume, it's important to use common and intuitive language. Applicant tracking systems often look for standard headings, such as "Education," "Work Experience," "Skills," and "Certifications." Using non-standard or humorous headings such as “Where I Learned” or “Why You Should Hire Me” may confuse the system and lead to your resume being overlooked.
Stick to industry-accepted terminology to ensure compatibility with ATS.
Upload your resume as a PDF or .docx file
When submitting your resume online, it's crucial to upload it in a format that is easily readable by applicant tracking systems. Some application platforms may specify a format but others may not. When in doubt, PDF and .docx formats are widely accepted and compatible with most ATS platforms.
These formats preserve the formatting and ensure that the system accurately scans and parses the content of your resume. Avoid using unusual file formats or converting your resume into an image, as this can lead to compatibility issues with ATS.
Read and reread your resume again
Before submitting your resume, thoroughly check your work to ensure it is error-free and optimized for applicant tracking systems. Check for any spelling or grammatical errors. Also, ensure that your contact information is accurate and up-to-date.
Additionally, review the overall layout and formatting to make sure it appears professional and visually appealing. Consider seeking feedback from a trusted friend or utilizing online resume optimization tools to further improve your resume. Some free ATS-friendly resume scanners include Jobscan and Resume Worded. It’s always good to have a second pair of eyes.
Optimizing your resume for applicant tracking systems is crucial in today's competitive job market. By following these tips, you can increase the chances of your resume passing through ATS and catching the attention of hiring managers.
By optimizing your resume for ATS, you'll be well on your way to securing your dream job. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to contact us at Contact@quardev.com. Best of luck in your job search! We’re rooting for you!
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