Technology | 8 Min Read

Steps to Make ATS Friendly Resume

author Written by Amit Ghodasara February 12, 2021

Steps to Make ATS Friendly Resume

Do you apply to different jobs but rarely get a response? Are you unsure about your applications passing through the resume system and into human hands? Well, these aren't mere thoughts but the truth. Did you know? 75% of resumes fail to reach the recruiters. The reason is that these can't be read by the resume screening software.


Resumes Fail


Applicant Tracking System also known as the resume screening software facilitates e-recruitment. In short, ATS are bots that act like strainers. The resumes that fit best get past them while the rest remain at the surface.

With the growing use of technology currently, there are high chances of your resume passing through a resume system. Unfortunately, if your resume isn't ATS-friendly, you're doomed as it might get lost in the filtering process. Then, even if you're the perfect fit for the job it will leave you to question your capabilities.

So how does ATS function? ATS uses algorithms that help in matching keywords to filter out the preferred candidates. Making an ATS friendly resume may seem hard but don't worry! We have got your back. Just follow the simple steps below to make an ATS-friendly resume.

The Resume System demands relevancy

The very first step to pass the resume system's scrutiny is to apply for the right job. What does the right job mean? It means you should possess the qualifications and skills for the job role in question. For instance, if you have an HR background and seek an entry-level position do not apply to the finance or IT jobs for the same post.

Some jobs are technical. If you apply to all the jobs you come across, it would seem that you're unaware of your skills or interests. Rejection is likely in such circumstances. You need to possess the core skills. If not so, you would waste your time as the resume system will stop your resume from passing through.

Furthermore, be careful about the positions you apply for. If you're a fresh graduate with no experience, applying for a managerial post would be illogical. You would never make it to the end so act wisely.

Warning: Avoid applying to every vacancy at the same company, the resume system keeps a record.

It would result in a negative impression of you. You cannot fit every position. The resume system tracks and records all entries. Wouldn't the recruiter think you're just applying for the sake of it?

It is critical to beware of your expertise. if you apply to different openings at the same time for roles that are poles apart you would be rejected. It doesn't mean you cannot apply to any other vacancy you feel fit for. Do that but then tailor your resume accordingly.

The Resume System is on a keyword hunt

Do not use your resumes as flyers that you throw to every job opening. Instead, customize them for every job application. Wouldn't that be time-consuming? No, it won't be. For this, simply replace the words in your resume with the synonymous keywords in job ads. A resume system is a robot. It will operate exactly as ordered. Following the set criteria, it will accept the resumes containing matching keywords and reject others. So, even if you're eligible for a job but your resume lacks the right keywords, it is useless. After all, the resume system is a keyword hunter.

Area of focus for the Resume System to select you

If you're confused about how to match the exact keywords, read the job description carefully. Focus more on the resume system skills that the ATS will identify. These are the skills that are commonly used in the resume, such as technical expertise, hard and soft skills. Also, be attentive to any action verbs and avoid using vague keywords for the resume system to understand itself. Instead, pick the hints from the job descriptions and mirror the exact phrases or keywords mentioned. Do not risk using synonyms or acronyms because the resume screening software may not grab what you have mentioned. To play safe, write the full forms along with the acronyms in the brackets. For example: "search engine optimization (SEO)."




Here is how you can automate the keyword search for the Resume System

So another way to identify the keywords is by using keyword detection tools like resume worded and jobscan. These tools identify the keywords in your job descriptions automatically. How? For this, copy your resume to a plain text document then upload it on one of these sites. Next, paste your job description. Done! The scanner will match the two and highlight what keywords your resume is missing.

Just remember, keywords are the game-changers. But don't stuff them unnecessarily. It is crucial to relate the keywords with your achievements for uniqueness. Anyone and everyone will insert keywords, so be different and brag about your achievements.

Use the right file type for the Resume System to recognize

In most cases, recruiters specify the file type they need for your resumes. But if not so, make sure you choose DOCX or DOC file type. Why? While PDF file type is good at preserving design and format, mostly it is resume system unfriendly but, a DOCX or plain file type is.

Currently, there are new ATS versions that require PDF files. But that's fine. Recruiters are kind enough to specify what they need.

Add information that is easy to process for the Resume System

Resume systems work like humans when processing information. So, make sure you have a proper format. Choose from the three types of resume formats that are chronological, combination, or functional. Try to avoid the functional resume unless required, as it isn't ATS compliant. Furthermore, separate your text by expected headings such as work experience, education, etc., so the information is easy to find. Your resume should be human friendly to read. If it is, then ATS too will pick it well.

It is important to note that your contact details should not be added in the header or footer as the ATS is unable to parse that information. A Study proves, 25% of the time ATS fails to identify a part of jobseekers' contact details. It means employers may like your resume but would be unable to contact you. Chances of selection? All gone!




The Resume System isn't fond of fancy formatting

Your resume needs to be professional. It is not an art project. Avoid using fancy templates with different colors, logos, charts, graphics, etc. Instead, make sure to use simpler ones. Using fancy templates confuses the ATS as they aren't formatted to scan the creativity. Just give them the ATS resume format that is standardized, and you're eligible to proceed to the next stages.

Here are some examples of decent resume templates.

Moreover, use bullet points to emphasize your achievements. But also be careful and do not overuse them, so they remain prominent. Also, use one font color or a maximum of two that do not cause eye strains. Your font size also should be readable, ranging from 11-12 for the body and 13-14 for the headers. Lastly, separate each section with bold text.

It is as simple as that. Let your resume speak for you. Don't put extra effort into useless decoration.

ATS is looking for the same that a human looks for so, even if your resume is not passing through any resume system, you're safe from rejection.

Take notes to meet the Resume System criteria

To summarize, here is what mistakes the resume supporting ATS system wants you to avoid:

  • Attaching photos: this creates unfairness, so the recruiters discourage it unless integral to the job. Did you know? 88% of resumes are rejected when photos are attached to them.


  • Unorganized dates: when mentioning different job experiences, it is vital to check that the dates are not clashing and are correct. Do not be careless and recheck the dates before resume submission.

  • Writing objective statement: do not use the term objective as this tells more about what you want from the job and not what you can give. It is old school. Currently, a professional summary is in use that provides teasers about the rest of the resume.

  • Adding references: do not add references if not asked or write, can be provided upon request. If you want the job, you will have to give the references later, no doubt.

  • Multiple contact numbers: add one or a maximum of two contact numbers that are in use. Do not make the recruiters decide where to contact you.

  • Unprofessional email address: it is a big turn off. Do not attach the email address that you made in grade 6 instead make a professional id.

  • Spelling and grammatical mistakes: what good is your resume if you can not write correctly? Check the spelling or other errors thoroughly as 40% of employers reject resumes with spelling mistakes.


  • Lengthy resume: resume should be two pages long if you are highly experienced or up to 1 page if you have just graduated. Do not forget, employers skim through resumes in 7.4 seconds on average.


Check your resumes for these mistakes and correct them to pass through the resume systems. Who knows which dream job you might land after this? Good luck!

Related Articles

Employee Onboarding Portal 2021: All You Need To Know!

Employee Onboarding Portal 2021: All You Need To Know!

As an employer in 2021, it is vital to utilize new HR practices such as the use of an onboarding portal. These help in retaining n...

author Amit Ghodasara February 15, 2021

HRIS vs ATS: Which HR Software To Choose?

HRIS vs ATS: Which HR Software To Choose?

Are you thinking of investing in HR software for recruiting purposes but confused between HRIS and ATS? Well, it is 2021 and th...

author Amit Ghodasara February 5, 2021

Top 20 Best Job Boards For Employers

Top 20 Best Job Boards For Employers

The dream of a perfect job every candidate has but from where to get the job? There are N numbers of job search websites from whe...

author Dhara Tanna November 2, 2020