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Optimize your Resume as per the Applicant Tracking System

April 15,2016

Getting a job interview through the internet is not an easy task. We’ve all been through the routine of online job applications through a company’s web portal. First you have to make specific credentials for the portal, fill out a dozen blocks with personal information, upload your resume and then finally, submit the application. What if I told you that there is a strong chance that your application, which might have taken you hours to complete, is not even looked at by a human being? Almost all major corporate companies and MNCs screen their recruiting process through a software algorithm.

Meet ATS- the Applicant Tracking System.

Applicant Tracking System allows companies to filter out resumes as per some specific parameters. They are scanned for keywords, computing statistical scores for congruity, and finally choosing only a selective bunch for human review. In very basic terms, they’re the metaphorical gatekeepers to the promised land.

While this tool comes in very handy for recruiters, there can be instances where a deserving candidate like you can be denied the chance for an interview just because of some minute errors in your resume. A human might overlook these errors as honest mistakes and doesn’t let it affect your chances of landing the job. However, with ATS, you shouldn’t expect any empathy in these situations.

While there is no instant magic fix to help you skip past the ATS, there are some tips which will make your resume good enough for it’s guidelines.

Using the Right Keywords

When you look at a job description for any vacancy, you’ll find that there are certain keywords associated to every job domain. When ATS scans your application, it looks for those specific keywords to match up for the job profile.

In order to make your resume ATS-worthy, you need to prepare it using the keywords associated with the apparent job profile. This might take some extra effort as you might need to edit your resume for every individual job application. But in the long run, it will surely help you in getting your dream job.

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However, make sure you don’t go overboard and fill up your resume with a plethora of keywords. It might get you past the ATS, but any individual recruiter will dismiss it on first sight. Smart keyword usage is the key to getting the right balance in a resume.

Use simple formats

  • Generally, a lot of people try to give their resume a fancy look, just to impress the recruiter. While this may work in case of humans, the ATS doesn’t bode well with fancy fonts, logos or pictures. Follow some basic steps while choosing your format.

  • Always stick to the standard resume formats, fonts and file types. Fonts like Arial, Times New Roman are some of the industry defaults in the current corporate culture.

  • When giving certificate credentials, always use both the acronyms and the full form as you never know what the ATS might be looking for.

  • Avoid using excessive headers and footers.

Give preference to using a doc file over a pdf.

All these steps should be taken to ensure that ATS doesn’t get confused with any extravagant stuff and reject your resume on grounds of irrelevance.

Always do a spell check

This might seem like a very basic thing to do but a significant percentage of resumes have spelling and grammar mistakes. This is strictly looked down upon in the recruitment process and ATS makes sure that any resume with spelling mistakes gets thrown out of the race before it even begins. So make sure you always use a spell check before submitting any application. You can even use tools like Grammarly to hash out any grammatical errors.

Always remember, your resume is first impression you make on the recruiters. But to get to that stage, you will need to pass the Applicant tracking system. Just follow the above steps and make yourself visible to any hiring manager in the world.