What Are The Secrets To Making ATS Friendly Resume


March 11, 2023

What Are The Secrets To Making ATS Friendly Resume

My last article discussed how many job applications you should send each day in order to land more interview invites and eventually a dream job. The aim of this article is to explain what are the secrets to writing an ATS-friendly resume. Having an ATS-friendly resume is crucial if you expect to get a response to your application.

99% of the fortune 500 companies use ATS software for initial screening of all applications. 75% of these applications are discarded and only 25% application ever reach to recruiter’s table for their review. But the problem is not that you don’t have skills, but how you present your skill in your resume. ATS is after all a robot and has limitations. This is why you should ensure that your resume is typed in a way that is easier for ATS to read and then evaluate. 

Look at below funnel:

ATS Funnel

Nowadays, the ATS has become so advanced that they don't just stop at scanning resumes for keywords but they also take into consideration when, where, and how a candidate has used the skills.

The ATS now has the full ability to check an entirely formatted resume. It looks for keywords based on educational qualifications, work experience, previous experience, and certain other skills. Using this information, the ATS passes the resume for the next round and also manages and organizes the information simply and sort the hiring process.

So, you must create a resume that is ATS-friendly, and not only that, it must also please the human resource manager. So, here are some simple steps to create an ATS-friendly resume.

Secrets To Making ATS Friendly Resume

Create A Resume That Is Easy To Read

In spite of how advanced an ATS may be, it is still a robot that can't understand complex things and gets confused when things become too complex. In order to make your resume look professional, you should use simple fonts and designs.

When explaining your responsibilities, you can use a paragraph or bullet point format. There is no difference between the two formats as far as parsing is concerned.

Avoid The Use Of Images

In some cases, your chart and image will appear scrambled or missing due to ATS difficulties reading them. As a result, if your CV contains design elements, the applicant tracking system will consider you to be less qualified, since it cannot read the information.

It is best to avoid the use of images and complex charts and graphs in your resume. Ensure that your education, skills, and other important information are represented using common headings and titles. There should be no ambiguity in your resume, it should be easy to read.

Header or Footer are Big NO

In many application tracking systems, the header and footer sections on your resume cannot be read and analyzed, particularly if your resume is set up in a word document format, which does not allow it to identify those sections. The key is to avoid putting important details in the header or footer of your resume, such as your phone number, email address, and so on. You should place these details in the main part of your resume instead.

Use of Keywords Are Untold Secret To Making ATS Friendly Resume

There are two methods by which ATS's filter out resumes: keyword content and the quantity of experience. The two methods mentioned above should be kept in mind when writing your resume in order to optimize it properly.

In order to optimize your resume based on the presence of keywords, you should consider both how the keywords are used and the number of times they appear in your resume. It is important not to overuse keywords on your resume, as you do not want to miss out on other information that is equally important.

Depending on how many times you use the keyword in your resume, you will be able to determine how strong your skills are. You can use NexJobPro's ATS Scan tool to determine what keywords to include on your resume. You will receive a list of keywords and essential skills that you should include in your resume after using this tool.

Make Your Resume Relevant To Each Employer

It is always a plus point to add a personal touch. You should customize your resume for each company you apply to, rather than sending out the same resume to all employers. Due to the specific nature of the job, this allows you to optimize your resume in a more effective manner.

Through the use of an ATS, resumes are filtered and only those that are written in a manner that meets the robot's sensibilities are selected for consideration. There may appear to be a lot of work involved in creating a good resume, but it will be worth the effort in the long run.

Don't Apply For Roles You Are Not Qualified For

Applying for a job that does not match your expertise is the easiest way to be eliminated from the ATS selection process. It is possible that your marketing profile could be discarded if they are looking for a sales representative. Thus, ensure that you are truly qualified for the position based on the job listing's qualifications as well as have a reasonable understanding of the job's background. It would be better not to waste your time or that of the recruiter’s if you do not possess the core skills needed to perform the job.

Apply For Only One Job Title At A Company

Recruiters can access all the positions you have applied for in a company using an applicant tracking software system. Recruiters may interpret this as showing a lack of interest in one field or questioning your awareness of one’s own abilities, which is one of the most serious mistakes you can make.

You should definitely apply, but be sure to customize your resume and cover letter according to the specifics of each position. For example, if they are similar roles, with similar skills, you should apply for both, but make sure to tailor your resume and cover letter accordingly.  

Provide An Easy Way To Scan

It is recommended that you use a Microsoft Word or a PDF file format, since they maintain the formatting of your resume. Ensure that your resume does not contain excessive length, highlighted content or excessive margins. Cover letters are advantages when you expect your resume will be parsed by ATS.

Don't Be Too Aesthetic

We apologize for breaking it to you, but that expensive resume template you just purchased did nothing but damage your financial situation. The majority of hiring managers and recruiters will tell you that creative or fancy resumes are not only more difficult for an applicant tracking system to understand, but also for the employer to comprehend as well. 

All the fancy design elements you spent hours on will disappear in seconds when they are scanned, as most ATS convert resumes to text-only files. As a result, any important information that is contained inside the tables will also disappear with them.

Avoid Trying To Fool The ATS

It would be a mistake to think that you are smarter than the applicant tracking system. Your CV document is scanned and assessed using several tools in the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Using this application, your resume is synchronized with your social media accounts. Thus, if you think, you will fool an applicant tracking system into giving you, say, a social worker position when you possess qualifications for a physician position, forget it.

In addition to the problems associated with ATSs, Owens points out that applicants have become more aggressive in their attempts to cheat the system. If you have encountered advice regarding how to tweak your resume to fool an applicant tracking system, perhaps you have been advised to include keywords in white, to paste the entire job description in white, to repeat the keywords as often as possible, or to add a section labeled Keywords where certain words from the job description are inserted. This should not be done!

If you try to conceal your keywords by pasting them in white, your trick will be exposed immediately since the ATS will display all your text in the same color. The recruiter will see that you have added the full description of the job to your application, or simply that you have written "sales, sales, sales, sales" somewhere, and they will move onto the next candidate as soon as possible. As well as failing to demonstrate your qualifications for the position, you are also demonstrating that you will cheat in order to achieve success.

Consider putting a keyword section at the end of the document, but keep in mind that it lacks any context. Your resume probably should not include this skill if you cannot also explain your experience with it, and if this is the case with one of the main keywords, this job is not for you. What you can do, however, is include a keyword-rich resume summary not an objective statement that concisely puts your skills in context at the top of your document.

Furthermore, you should avoid overusing keywords on your resume. You can use keywords as much as you like so long as they are used within the correct context. Nevertheless, if you simply cram in unnecessary keywords throughout your resume, you may make it past a resume scanner only to irritate recruiters and hiring managers.

Make Your Case By Uploading A Cover Letter

A cover letter should always accompany a resume that is ATS-friendly. As a result, you are able to upload an ATS-friendly resume online, increasing your chances of getting hired as compared to your competitors.

Have The Recruiter In The Back Of Your Mind

It is easy to forget that when you optimize your resume for an automated system, you are also optimizing it for human review. Remember that out of 100 applications, only 25 make it through the ATS and are reviewed by a human. A human review will select only 4 to 6 candidates for interview. As a result, it's very important to consider the recruiter while you optimize your resume for ATS.

Don't forget that you are writing this resume for prospective employers, not for yourself. Consider whether the information you include in your CV will aid a recruiter in assessing your qualifications for a specific position when deciding what information to include.

Utilize numbers and metrics to highlight your accomplishments when describing your current and past positions. This will demonstrate how you have applied your skills.

In Summary

We already know that 99% of the fortune 500 companies use ATS software for initial screening of all applications. And other organizations are quickly catching up. This is why it is pertinent to tailor your resume in way that is easier for ATS to parse, and then evaluate you against other applicants. The secrets to making your resume ATS-friendly are:

Don’t use:

  • Tables
  • Textboxes
  • Logos/Icons
  • Graphs, Images, Charts
  • Columns
  • Headers & Footers
  • Uncommon Section Headings
  • Hyperlinks
  • Uncommon Fonts

Instead Use:

  • Common Fonts
  • Common Section Headings
  • Utilize Automated Tools Such as NextJobPro’s ATS Resume Tools to find keywords and skills from the job descriptions