A resume is one vital factor in a jobseeker’s life. It determines if you will make it to the screening or interview phase, Resume writing is given special attention by every job aspirant but why is it that only some manage to get due attention?
This is because keywords and formatting are equally important while framing a stellar resume.
Why is it so? This is because of the use of ATS or an Applicant Tracking system.
In this article, we will understand the importance of an ATS Friendly resume, what is an ATS, and how to create an ATS-friendly resume.
Why is an ATS-Friendly Resume Important?
- According to one report, 75% of resumes do not make it into the hands of a recruiter.
- This is because the right keywords and the right formatting were not used in the resume.
- For any resume to be ATS-friendly, you must consider these two important aspects- 1. Keywords 2. Formatting.
- An ATS-Friendly Resume is important because it will be picked off by the ATS in recruitment management software and right into the hands of a recruiter.
- Therefore, making an ATS-compliant resume is crucial in the resume-making journey.
What is an Applicant Tracking system?
- As a job seeker, you build your resume, upload it to a job portal and then apply through it.
- Meanwhile, what happens with a recruiter?
- They get piles of resumes that need consistent sifting which is quite laborious.
- This is the very reason why recruiters nowadays have turned to an Application Tracking system or an ATS system.
- An ATS system in talent acquisition software helps in collecting, storing, and organizing applicant data.
Let us understand how recruiters search for resumes through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS):
- They input keywords in the form of job titles, or skills to search for relevant candidates.
- These keywords are entered into an ATS database.
- For example, if recruiters are looking for customer service or a customer service executive, they will enter the details after which the results will be displayed accordingly.
- Thus, the candidates’ profile emerges based on the keyword entries made.
- Moving on, the recruiter can narrow down their search and make the selection.
- A lot of companies these days have gone the ATS way which is why you must build an ATS-friendly resume.
- This will proliferate the chances of you having your dream job.
How to Create an ATS-Friendly Resume?
1. Frame the Right Headline
- The headline exists at the top of a resume just below your name.
- It provides brief information about who you are or what are you interested in terms of working.
- You must make your headline a catchy one and it should be relevant to the job you are applying for.
- Find the job description and there you can see the job position which you need to add to the resume with which you are applying.
- This will make the recruiter come across you as it will be displayed in the search results.
- You do not have to tweak your resume each time but do so in most cases.
- Also, highlight the years of experience you have gathered in your career.
Some examples of a resume headline:
Content Strategist with 5 Years of Experience.
Sales Representative with 3+ Years of Experience
Finance manager with 9 Years of Experience in the Banking Industry
2. Include Important Keywords
- When searching, recruiters simply do not make an entry of the relevant job position in the search bar but also specific keywords pertaining to the job role.
- For example, “marketing”, “SEO”, 6+ years of experience, C++, etc are some examples of keywords and keyword phrases that recruiters use to search through.
- Therefore, you must input the keywords appropriately depending on the job position.
- If you don’t include the right keywords in your resume, chances are that it will remain noticed.
- These keywords get tracked by an ATS which is why you should put all your focus on building an ATS-friendly resume.
- However, do not use too many keywords as this can lead to keyword stuffing which can make a resume far from appealing.
- A resume with excess keywords is not easily readable.
- Instead, be natural when it comes to using keywords.
3. Align Your Resume with a Job Description
- Use keywords in your resume that are similar to those in the job description.
- This step is about aligning your resume to the JD of a job you are applying for.
- The keywords should not only represent similar skills but should be an exact copy of the job description.
- Do include long form and acronym versions in your resume as there are chances that your resume will get due attention.
- Go For an ATS Friendly Resume Format
- While the right keywords make a resume ATS-friendly, the right formatting also does the same.
- No matter how much your resume seems catchy, with the absence of appropriate keywords and the right formatting, it is bound to be rejected outright.
- You can format your resume both in chronological and reverse chronological order.
- In chronological order, you present your qualifications and work experience in a chronological way while the opposite happens in the case of reverse chronological order.
- In reverse chronological order, your most recent work experience and qualifications find a place at the top.
Things to Do to Make Your Resume Easily Scannable
Here are some of the guidelines you should follow to make your resume easily scannable by an ATS:
- Make use of simple language so that the ATS can read and interpret it.
- Use common fonts like Times New Roman, Calibri, and Garamond to give a professional appeal to your resume.
- Use 1 inch of margin on all sides of your resume.
- Do not simply use the year to highlight your work experience. Instead, mention the month and the year in the MM/YYYY format.
- You may consider highlighting the headlines and subheadlines with bold, and italics and also provide bullet points for the list of skills, qualifications, and work experience.
- You may either use a Word or a PDF document that will be easy for the ATS to scan.
- Keep up with the spelling and do not overlook its importance.
- Finally, proofread your resume to avoid any errors.
Things You Must Avoid While Formatting Your Resume
- An ATS doesn’t read the entire resume script. It parses some chunks of the formatting and makes it easy to analyze the text.
- To make a resume more ATS-friendly, here are the things you should avoid if you want your resume to get noticed:
- Avoid using tables and columns.
- Headers and footers can make it difficult for the ATS to collect information.
- Avoid using graphics, symbols, images, etc.
- Do not use fancy headings or subheadings to get the attention of a recruiter. Even if such a resume gets through an ATS, there is a high chance that it will be rejected by a recruiter.
We understand how important it is to frame the right resume to make it ATS-friendly. The simple answer is to use the right keywords and the right formatting so that an ATS can scan, read and interpret the data. Plus, we get to see the various guidelines we should follow to make our resume more ATS-compliant and the things we should give up that may make our resume an unscannable and unreadable piece of document lost in oblivion.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I make an ATS-compatible resume?
To make an ATS-compatible resume, use the right amount of keywords and keyword phrases. Avoid overstuffing them and also use the right formatting.
What is the most ATS-friendly resume format?
The most ATS-friendly resume format is also the common one: chronological order. in Chronological format, you present the details chronologically or sequentially.
What are ATS keywords?
ATS keywords are keywords that are scannable by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Such keywords should be present in a resume to make it more ATS-friendly.