Tips for formatting your resume for ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems)
Your resume will likely be examined by an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) if you are applying for a job online before it is seen by a recruiter. An ATS is a piece of software that sorts resumes according to several criteria, including keywords, skills, education, and experience. ATS are used to filter resumes by more than 90% of big organizations, according to some estimates.
How then can you be sure that the hiring manager will see your resume and that it passes the ATS test? Here are some layout suggestions for your CV for ATS:
- Use a simple and standard format.
Prevent the ATS from being confused by sophisticated fonts, images, tables, columns, or other components. utilize standard typefaces like Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri throughout your resume, and be sure to utilize the same font size and style for each section. To list your accomplishments and talents, use bullet points rather than lengthy paragraphs. Your first and last name, the job title, and a file extension should be used when saving your resume as a Word or PDF document.
- Use keywords strategically.
Identify the keywords that are relevant to the job you are applying for and use them throughout your resume. Keywords can be found in the job description, the company website, or in industry publications. Make sure to use the exact words and phrases that the employer is looking for and avoid synonyms or acronyms that might not be recognized by the ATS. For example, if the job requires "project management" skills, use that term instead of "PM" or "managing projects". However, do not overuse keywords or stuff them in your resume. The ATS might flag your resume as spam and a human recruiter might find it unnatural or dishonest.
- Highlight your achievements and quantify them.
Instead of listing your duties and responsibilities, focus on your accomplishments and how they benefited your previous employers. Use numbers, percentages, dollars, or other metrics to demonstrate your impact and value. For example, instead of saying "Managed a team of 10 salespeople", say "Led a team of 10 salespeople to achieve 120% of sales quota in 2020". This will show the ATS and the hiring manager that you have the skills and experience they are looking for and that you can deliver results.
- Tailor your resume to each job.
Do not use a generic resume for every job application. Customize your resume to match the specific requirements and expectations of each employer. Research the company, its culture, its goals and its challenges and show how you can fit in and contribute. Use keywords that are relevant to the industry, the role and the company. Emphasize your most relevant skills, achievements and qualifications and leave out anything that is not related to the job. This will increase your chances of passing the ATS scan and getting an interview.
- Proofread and test your resume.
Before you submit your resume, make sure to check it for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting errors. Use online tools like Grammarly or Hemingway to catch any mistakes or improve your writing style. You can also ask a friend or a professional to review your resume and give you feedback. Additionally, you can test your resume with an online ATS simulator like Jobscan or Resume Worded to see how it scores and get suggestions on how to improve it.
By following these tips will help you prepare your resume for ATS and improve your chances of getting the job of your dreams. Just keep in mind that an ATS is only a tool to assist human recruiters in locating the top applicants. The following stages of the employment process include creating a cover letter, connecting with possible employers, and nailing the interview, so you should also get ready for those.