8 Ways to Optimize your Resume for ATS

8 Ways to Optimize your Resume for ATS

What is ATS and How to optimize your resume for ATS

Hiring managers go through hundreds and thousands of resumes for hiring every position in a company. To lessen the workload and ease the screening process, recruiters use computer applications such as ATS to find the right candidates from multiple resumes today.  In short, you must optimize your resume for ATS or automatic tracking software to pass it through software and manual tests!

What is ATS or Applicant Tracking Software

Applicant Tracking Software or ATS is a candidate tracking software that assesses technical parameters in a resume such as keywords, section headers and formatting to test your qualifications as a candidate. ATS electronically scans and finds relevant keywords from multiple resumes that comply with the job roles sought by the employer.

Applicant tracking software scans your resume based on how well it correlates with the position offered. Moreover, ATS is also popular as it saves paper and stores the candidate applications in electronic format. A highly recommended timesaving alternative, ATS-related software scans multiple resumes at a time. Moreover, ATS ensures that the right candidates are screened for the right position, sans wasting the time of the recruiter as well as unfit candidates.

8 Ways to Optimize your Resume for ATS

Almost all major companies around the world use software such as ATS to review candidacies and enroll shortlisted candidates to the main database. According to statistics, 72% of the resume application never reach the hiring manager and are often filtered out by ATS software.

If your job application consists of a series of questionnaires with your resume, it is advised to answer all the questions to make it an ATS-friendly resume.

Follow the below guidelines to prevent your resume from getting rejected-

·  Keyword Optimization

To customize your resume for ATS, start by reviewing the job description and skills sought by the employer. Avoid stuffing your keywords in the resume as ATS actively rejects profiles with 95% keyword inclusion while 50% keyword match with the job description is recommended. Including the relevant keywords, often found in the job description will cite you as a qualifying candidate by the ATS.

·  Formatting and Style

Adding special characters and fancy bullets tend to mark your resume as irrelevant by the ATS. Using Optical Character Reorganization, ATS scans and converts the resume into plain text by deciphering your relevant job experiences and skills. It is recommended to submit your resume in Word format than PDF as the latter format is not compatible with most automatic candidate tracking software.

·  Tables, Charts, and Boxes

Less is more when it comes to adorning your professional resume. Automatic tracking systems are cannot convert resume data from boxes, charts or tables into plain text for the recruiter. Moreover, resume content in fancy boxes or columns will be marked blank by the ATS, leading to disqualification of your candidacy.

·  Header and Footer Optimization

Do not add important information in the header or footer column. Data added in the header and footer is invisible to automatic tracking software such as ATS. Hence, content with special characters are skipped or seldom added to the profile made by resume automatic tracking software. You must avoid adding your contact information in the Header or Footer as ATS rejects such resumes for lack of contact information as the software contracts data in special boxes.

·  Images and Graphics

Just like fancy characters and boxes, graphics in a professional resume are marked blank by automatic tracking software. In short, the hiring manager will not see your creative images if ATS is used to filter candidates by the company you are applying to.

·  Lines, Logos, and Borders

While modern ATS technology is amended to access a variety of resumes, there is no guarantee that lines and fancy borders will be scanned easily. It is better to avoid adding fancy lines or borders for formatting the resume for Applicant Tracking Software.

·  Add Commonly Used Titles

An ATS scans and rearranges the resume content sections according to relevance. In case your resume has unique titles instead of the common sections or headers on a resume, there is a high chance that the ATS will fail to interpret your creative headers. Instead, use common headers such as Title, Objective, Summary Statement, Experience, Skills, Achievements and Education to make your resume ATS-compliant.

·  Adding Past Job Experience

When furnishing your past duties and responsibilities in a similar job role as the position offered, you must stick to a finite format. It is important to follow a chronological order in the resume that furnishes the name, title, city, and net worth and contact information of your past employers systematically. This format helps ATS transfer your important job history to the company database without fail.

·  Special Characters

You must remove accented words as ATS messes up accented words by using irrelevant symbols during conversion. The same applies to uncommon characters and symbols including fancy typefaces, colors or underlines. As a rule of thumb, hiring managers believe that overburdening creative designs in a resume are detractions that negatively affect your credit scores at the hiring desk.

It is ideal to use MS Word or Plain Text to examine if your resume content contains any special characters.

·  Proofreading

It is cardinal that you check your resume for typos, syntax and semantics errors. It is natural to skip a spelling or a pronoun when you’re preparing the first draft of your resume. However, you must ask your friend or family to scan the profile prior to submission. When ATS fails to understand a misspelled word, it also skips your vital points in the resume. According to 40% hiring managers, one typo can cost you a job!


It is mandatory to customize your resume to comply with the applicant tracking software. If your resume is not ATS-friendly, there are high chances that you will not receive the interview call.

As of today, 90% of the companies use innovative tracking software such as ATS to manage job applications. Moreover, online job applications go straight through ATS to filter the valuable candidates from those that are irrelevant. Hence, your resume must first comply with ATS to even, reach the eyes of the recruiter.

Correct tools to design ATS-friendly resumes can help you succeed in your job hunt quicker than you imagined!

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