7 ways to beat the ATS: How to write an ATS Compliant Resume

If you have applied for several opportunities but have not been granted an interview, your resume is likely being rejected by applicant tracking systems (ATS).

When companies advertise positions online, it is not uncommon for them to become inundated with resumes. To combat this challenge, companies utilize ATS software to eliminate unqualified applicants, creating a more manageable candidate pool. The software achieves this by analyzing and scoring resumes based on how well they match the job description.

Use the following tips to increase your ATS scores and the odds of your resume being reviewed by a recruiter or hiring manager.

1. Eliminate pictures, graphics, and tables.

Most systems do not recognize graphics, or they parse them incorrectly, causing your resume to get rejected

2. Use standardized titles and sections.

Use clear section titles such as “Experience”, “Education”, and “Skills”.Automated systems will check these sections for important requirements such as experience years, education, certifications, and keywords.

3. Use the reverse-chronological resume format.

ATS systems recognize the most recent experience in reverse-chronological order. If your experience is misread, you may be presumed unemployed and possibly rejected.

4. Use keywords.

Fashion your resume using keywords from the job description for which you are applying. Doing so will assign your resume a higher ranking.

5. Use common fonts.

When creating a resume for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), it’s best to use simplefonts like Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman, Georgia, Helvetica, Tahoma, or Garamond. Avoid decorative fonts and unusual typefaces, as ATS software relies on straightforward text. Maintain consistent font sizes and formatting throughout your document.

6. No fancy formatting:

Don’t use fancy formatting especially for bullet points (like checkmarks or stars), stick to basic symbols (circles, squares, etc.) that the ATS can easily read.

7. Highlight with bold strategically:

Bold keywords sparingly to make them stand out for the ATS, but avoid overdoing it and making your resume look cluttered.

Bonus 1 Convert to TXT: 

Convert your document to a plain-text document. If headers are missing, content is missing or it simply looks “off”, your resume will need additional work to make it ATS compliant. 

Bonus 2: Free ATS scanners:

There are several free online tools that can scan your resume for ATS compatibility and suggest improvements. Some even allow you to paste in the job description and it will tell you how well your resume matches.

Bonus 3: Resume Templates

ATS Compliant Resume Templates from JobScan



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