How to Optimize Your Resume for Applicant Tracking Systems
A Jobscan research study revealed that 98.8% of Fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking systems to collect, sort through, and manage the hundreds of applications they receive.
When competing against a high volume of applicants, optimizing your resume can help ensure it actually makes it past the ATS and into the hands of a human!
By using the following three strategies, you'll be on your way to beating the ATS bots:
- Stick to a simple resume format
- Incorporate relevant keywords
- Use a conventional section titles
1) Stick to a simple resume format
Applicant tracking systems are often unable to correctly parse information from resumes with multiple columns, tables, charts, or graphics.
As a result, we always recommend using a traditional resume format.
Online resume builders that promise to deliver “modern” documents that help you stand out with colors and symbols used to rank your skills on a five-point scale, for instance, may actually work against you.
Keep your formatting conservative and let your work experience speak for itself.
You'll be taken more seriously and convey a strong sense of professionalism.
2) Incorporate relevant keywords
When recruiters receive a high volume of applications for a position, they often use an ATS to narrow down the applicant pool, filtering resumes using keywords.
To help your resume make the initial cut, tailor your content accordingly by reading through the job description and naturally incorporating relevant keywords into your bullet points.
3) Use conventional section titles
When it comes to section headings, keep it simple.
To ensure that the ATS correctly pulls information from your document, you should use standard headings such as the following:
- Work Experience
In a competitive job market, recruiters have more than enough applicants to choose from.
Based on our conversations with recruiters, resume features such as graphics, colors, photos, and fancy designs aren't taken very seriously.
In fact, they’re often the reason a resume gets rejected during the initial screening process.
Remember that you only have a few seconds to make a strong first impression!
By keeping it classy and playing it safe when it comes to formatting, you'll increase your chances of landing interviews - both by beating the bots and impressing recruiters.
About Resume Pilots
Resume Pilots is an award-winning executive resume writing firm and a proud member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. Our previous clients include CEOs and senior executives at the world's leading companies.
As a professional services firm, we take your reputation seriously. We are committed to delivering writing excellence and superior service while operating with integrity and discretion. Recruitment firms we partner with also trust us to consistently deliver quality documents for their clients.
Our writers have studied in the Ivy League and other top-tier universities and have strong writing backgrounds coupled with industry experience.
Here's how we can help you:
Resume, Cover Letter, and LinkedIn Writing Services: If you are looking for end-to-end support, hire one of our professional resume writers to rewrite your documents from the ground up.
Executive Resume Template Downloads: If you plan to prepare your own resume, consider using one of our classic, ATS-friendly resume templates for Microsoft Word.