Updated: Oct 5
Creating an ATS resume can make a significant difference if you find securing interviews during your job search challenging.
Companies use ATS software to manage the hiring process efficiently. It sorts and organizes applications, including resumes. When you submit your resume for a job, it usually goes into an ATS database. However, if your resume isn't optimized for ATS, there's a chance a hiring manager won't review it.
There are two common reasons for this:
Incorrect formatting: If your resume isn't formatted correctly, an ATS may struggle to properly read and parse the information.
Lack of relevant keywords: Your resume may not include the specific keywords that a hiring manager is searching for, resulting in it being overlooked by the ATS.
Having an ATS-friendly resume increases the likelihood of it reaching the hands of a hiring manager, resulting in more interview opportunities and job offers.
Crafting an ATS resume is simple, requiring three easy steps. This article is designed to provide you with effortless guidance throughout the process.
How to create an ATS resume in 3 steps?
Step 1: Incorporate the job title or required experience in your resume heading
The initial step involves reviewing the job description and identifying the job title or required experience mentioned at the top. Let's consider an example where you aim to apply for a position as a Senior Manager in Sales. To optimize your resume for ATS screening, include the keywords "Senior Manager" and "Sales" in your resume headline.
The resume headline serves as a concise summary of your professional identity and appears prominently at the top of your resume, just below your contact information. By including the specific keywords in your headline, you increase the chances of matching the hiring manager's search criteria when they use an ATS to identify suitable candidates.
Here are a few examples of well-optimized resume headlines for the job:
Results-driven Senior Manager and Sales Leader with a proven track record of delivering exceptional outcomes.
Dynamic Senior Manager experienced in sales and business development, driving revenue growth and market expansion.
Senior Manager skilled in sales strategy and team leadership, fostering high-performance teams and achieving sales targets.
Now that your resume headline is ATS-optimized let's move on to the next step, where we'll focus on the remaining sections of your resume.
Step 2: Identify the essential skills and incorporate them into your resume
Once you have analyzed the job description, pay close attention to the skills or keywords mentioned frequently. These are often hard skills, which refer to specific abilities and knowledge acquired through experience or training.
For instance, if the job description emphasizes the skill of "marketing," it is crucial to prominently feature this keyword in your resume to increase your chances of securing a job interview. Highlighting your marketing expertise throughout your resume will help demonstrate your qualifications to potential employers.
Remember to align your skills with the specific requirements mentioned in the job description to showcase your suitability for the role. Including relevant hard skills such as technical writing, data analysis, graphic design, project management, or specific programming languages like Python, Java, or Salesforce further strengthens your resume's ATS compatibility and enhances your chances of being considered for the position.
Step 3: Ensure an ATS-friendly resume format
To increase the chances of your resume being accurately parsed by the ATS, it's crucial to format it correctly. While visually appealing resumes may seem enticing, it's important to note that excessive graphic design elements can confuse the ATS, potentially hindering your chances of being shortlisted.
To create an ATS-friendly resume, it's best to adhere to a simple and clean design that prioritizes readability. Consider the following tips:
1. Use a standard font: Opt for commonly used fonts like Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman. These fonts are widely recognized and easily readable by the ATS.
2. Utilize clear headings: Organize your resume sections with clear titles such as "Work Experience," "Skills," and "Education." This helps the ATS accurately categorize and parse your information.
3. Include bullet points: Use bullet points to present your achievements, skills, and responsibilities. This makes it easier for the ATS to identify and process relevant information.
4. Avoid complex formatting: Steer clear of intricate formatting, excessive tables, or text boxes, as they can cause issues with the ATS parsing your resume correctly.
5. Save in a compatible format: Save your resume as a .docx or .pdf file, as these formats are widely accepted and compatible with most ATS systems.
How does an ATS work?
Here's how an ATS typically works:
1. Resume Submission: Job seekers submit their resumes and applications through various channels, such as online job boards, company websites, or email. These resumes are often digital, such as Word documents or PDFs.
2. Resume Parsing: The ATS automatically parses the resumes, extracting relevant information and organizing it into a structured format. This includes managing the contact information, work experience, education, skills, etc.
3. Keyword Matching: The ATS then compares the parsed resume content against the job requirements and qualifications specified by the employer. It identifies keywords, skills, and experiences that align with the job description.
4. Resume Ranking: Resumes that closely match the job requirements receive higher rankings.
5. Filtering and Sorting: The ATS filters and sorts the resumes based on the ranking score or specific criteria. This helps recruiters and hiring managers focus on the most qualified candidates and saves time by eliminating resumes that don't meet the initial screening criteria.
6. Communication and Workflow: The ATS facilitates communication between recruiters, hiring managers, and applicants. It often includes features like automated email responses, interview scheduling, and tracking candidate progress throughout the hiring process.
By leveraging ATS software, businesses can efficiently handle the large volume of resumes they receive, streamline the screening process, and identify the most suitable candidates for further evaluation. However, it also means job seekers need to optimize their resumes to meet the requirements and criteria set by the ATS for better chances of being selected for further consideration.
How do recruiters utilize ATS systems to locate potential candidates?
Recruiters primarily utilize keywords when searching for candidates within an ATS. These keywords typically encompass job titles and specific skills relevant to the desired role.
For instance, if a recruiter is looking for a software engineer, they would enter the keyword "software engineer" into the ATS search bar. Similarly, if they require candidates with graphic design skills, they would search for the keyword "graphic design" within the ATS.
Recruiters often use multiple keywords in their searches to narrow down the results. For instance, a search might include keywords such as "administrative assistant," "Microsoft Excel," and "PowerPoint." In this case, a resume must contain all three keywords to appear in the ATS search results.
If your resume lacks the keywords that recruiters are searching for, it may remain unnoticed within the ATS database, reducing your chances of being considered for the role.
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