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What Is An ATS-Friendly Resume And How To Write One?

Nowadays, discovering an excellent job opportunity and submitting your basic resume does not guarantee that you'll secure the job. Due to the intense competition for one open position, professional Resume Services have become extremely popular in recent times. Recruiters are utilizing the latest technology, such as applicant tracking systems (ATS), to speed up the hiring process and select ideal candidates.

You need to upgrade your resume in times like these to demonstrate that you are a top candidate for the job while also passing the applicant tracking system software. Let's uncover the secrets that go into writing an ATS-friendly resume.

Applicant Tracking System: What Does It Mean & How It Works?

Before we get into details about how to write an ATS-friendly resume, we must know what ATS actually is. Applicant Tracking System comes in the form of software - currently used by small, medium, and large Fortune 500 companies as well as SMEs. Recruiters and hiring managers prefer using it because it gathers, processes, scans, and places appropriate rankings on every job application it receives.

ATS software is built to churn out least-impressive applications; those that don't match qualifications, or experience, have specific headlines or keywords for the open position. These programs aren't created to identify the best fit but rather to present the ones that meet the standards and toss out the rest that doesn't live up to them. Top Resume Writing Services specialize in formatting the document, keeping in mind ATS software so that a strong candidate for the job doesn't get passed over.

Read The Job Description

Make sure you read the job description before applying for a position. It is estimated that after their applications are processed through ATS programs, hiring managers read only 25% of the applications.

Take the time to examine the job posting - pay attention to roles, responsibilities, qualifications needed, and any tests required to make it to the interview stage. Highlight the keywords, phrases, and key points that you deem necessary/relevant for the open position.

Don't apply for a position if you're not qualified. You'll easily be caught in the interview process. If you do not fit a traditional background for a position, you may still be qualified for it, but not every requirement must be met. If you don't possess the required core skills, do not waste either your or a recruiter's time.

How To Use Keywords In Your ATS-Friendly Resume?

Each time you fill out an application for a job, you should create a customized resume that contains keywords matching the job listing. A standard basic or generic resume is a big NO. Modify your resume for each employer and each job posting you are applying for.

Use long-form and acronym versions of keywords. Suppose you are applying for the post of SEO Specialist. The recruiter may choose to search for the full form - Search Engine Optimization, rather than SEO. Hence, include both.

In the ATS, keyword searches are one of the methods of narrowing an applicant pool. A little like Google, but much more focused. Before you start polishing your job application for keywords, you need to keep in mind that context is important. You cannot just place keywords in any place and hope that it works to your advantage. Over-optimization is another factor that you need to avoid.

Employers and recruiters can decide which keywords to search for. These primarily depend on what skills, qualifications, experience, or qualities are most crucial to a job's performance. Applying for an entry-level position, that might mean a certain major, while if you're applying for a business position, it might mean licenses or experience points.

ATS will scan your resume for those important keywords, so make sure you include them on your resume. Use the job listing as your primary reference when finding keywords, and look at competing resumes for examples. To increase your chances of being hired, bring aboard assistance from professional resume writing services.

Pick An Easy-To-Read AND ATS Compatible Resume Template & Format

'Your resume should be comprehensive and detailed" - That's what most professional Resume Writing Services strive to achieve when creating, polishing, or helping you create the perfect resume. Avoid complex formatting. Use a chronological or hybrid resume format instead.

Documents are usually converted to text-only by ATS systems in order to be scanned for keywords. The formatting will, therefore, essentially be lost on these systems. An ATS will be unable to pull out enough information as a result. The recruiter, in the end, doesn't get to see the formatting or read through your skills and experience to qualify you for the job.

Hence, pick a simple resume template and opt for sophisticated formatting instead. You do not have to try too hard to be fancy. Keeping it simple is classy and impressive enough.

If you want your resume to clear through an applicant tracking system, avoid tables, text boxes, logos, images, graphs, columns, headers and footers, uncommon fonts, hyperlinks, and unusual section headings.

What you should do is include bullet points that highlight your accomplishments and achievements - with facts and figures - in words rather than tables. It is best to eliminate the use of images and visuals, as they could distract the recruiter and fail the ATS scan. Pick standard fonts such as Times New Roman if you want to make the document easier to read.

Last but not least, uncommon section headings make it difficult for the ATS software as well as the recruiter to find the section they are looking for. Underline, bold, italics, and colors should be used to emphasize important segments and phrases in the document.


While making sure that your resume passes through the Applicant Tracking System, you also have to take care of its readability. Save your resume in the form of a PDF or .docx file, if possible. Check the job listing to see if they prefer the resume to be submitted in any particular form. The document must be easy-to-read and scanned by both the program and the human eye.

In the end, it must reach the recruiter's table and impress them enough to accept you into the next hiring phase. Therefore, craft your resume to be ATS-friendly and bring in the help of a resume service if needed.


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