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How to Make an ATS Resume: Here's What Job Seekers Should Know

Author —
Astley
August 3, 2021

Most times, applicants will send over their job application to their hiring manager after a few tweaks and wish for the best. 

Here’s a key fact: 90% of resumes are denied by recruiters.

What job seekers should know is that this usually happens because their resume has not been personalized or optimized for the company’s applicant tracking system (ATS). 

We’ll cover everything from what an ATS is and how to bypass them.

What Are Applicant Tracking Systems?

Applicant tracking systems are used by companies of all sizes to read through candidate documents and resumes. Employers and hiring managers use this during the job search process to filter candidates based on their skills, experience, and qualifications. 

This recruitment technology enables recruiters to separate the qualified candidates from the unqualified. It can immediately see if you match the basic criteria of the job requirements. They want to know they’re spending time assessing those candidates who can actually complete their job to a good standard. 

Because of this HR software, it’s another reason why most resumes never get to the hands of the recruiter. To overcome the hurdle and secure the next step, you need to beat the applicant tracking system.

How Do I Make an ATS-friendly Resume?

You’ll have to include the appropriate keywords and resume sections, as well as optimize the format of your application so it’s compatible with the scanners of the company you’re applying to. 

With Rezi, building an ATS-friendly resume is simple. It works in five easy steps:

Step 1: Register for free on the Rezi homepage.
Step 2: Click on the "Create New CV" button
Step 3: Enter the information required.
Step 4: Follow along and complete each section you’re provided with. 
Step 5: Completed ATS resume that has a feedback score

Another alternative is to take inspiration from the content in our ATS resume templates. These are also better starting points than starting from zero on a word document. 

How Do I Get Past The ATS System?

It’s not good enough to use the same resume for different companies, even if it’s the same job position you’re applying for. That’s one of the common resume mistakes we see job seekers make. You need to edit and customize your resume according to the company values and description from the job posting they’ve created.

Outside the resume writing process, make sure you’re applying to the company appropriately.

That means only making an application to a position you’re qualified for and for one job vacancy per company. 

Don’t spam multiple resumes for different vacancies in the company because the ATS can see how many applications you’ve made. They’ll also be able to extract all documents you’ve sent. 

How Do I Get My Resume Through The ATS?

The applicant tracking system is mainly on the lookout for ATS resume keywords, which tend to include your skills, work experience, and qualifications. This tells employers whether or not you meet their standards and can do your job properly. It also shows them your professional background and expertise.

Another important aspect is the readability of your resume. It should be clean and good enough for a human reader and for an AI scanner to scan.

We’ll go through each of the steps below on how to create a full ATS-compliant resume.

1. Include ATS Resume Keywords

This is one of the ways to determine if a candidate gets dropped or not. 

Ultimately, this is what the applicant tracking systems are looking for in every candidate’s job application.

If no ATS resume keywords are picked up, it’s a red flag to employers that the candidate hasn’t personalized or edited their resume. At least, not according to the company’s job posting description that you need to tailor your application for.

The same thing can apply to your cover letter. These aren’t always checked against the ATS, but there’s no guarantee. 

With Rezi,  you can use the AI keyword targeting feature to find all the keywords required. 

It’s pretty easy. You copy and paste the job description, then we’ll give you the list of words you need for your resume!

2. Get The Resume Section Headers Right 

Don’t overcomplicate the name of your resume section headers.

Make each section clear for what they are, i.e. professional experience, projects, etc. In our ATS resume examples, you’ll notice how simple and concise the layout is. 

These are one of the main things an applicant tracking system detects from all the resumes received. When skimming through your resume, this is also what’s usually noticed first by a human reader. 

3. Include The Appropriate Resume Skills 

You can easily identify this by seeing what’s included in the job description. For example, you might notice some jargon mentioned.

There is a good chance that those are the same words the hiring managers are expecting on your resume. If you’re applying to a tech position then best believe you’ll need to include tech skills and keywords such as HTML, Java, and more.

Recruiters will be on the lookout for hiring those with the more relevant resume skills.

4. List Down Your Resume Work Experience 

Your work experience is another important part of your resume. Arguably, it’s the most important section of your entire application.

Your job position, dates of employment, and where you previously worked are essential elements for the ATS. Employers will be expecting this, so it’s best to have this clearly highlighted with the appropriate resume font settings such as all caps and bold text.

You should also be describing your tasks and responsibilities for each position you’ve listed.

Of all the resume sections, the ATS keywords tend to be located here. Although they should be used throughout your resume, most of them can be found in the work experience section.

5. Write Down Your Qualifications 

This isn’t just limited to your education section and academic background. It includes other qualifications or certifications too which you might have, such as:

  • Training
  • Relevant coursework
  • Publications 

Including these on your resume can make it more compelling for the reader. It also shows that you have what it takes to get the job done. Just remember to keep everything concise and to stick to a one-page resume.

6. Use ATS Resume Fonts

The ATS resume format is essential for all job seekers.

This includes specific formatting and technical factors such as your resume spacing, font, and margins. It not only needs to be optimized for your employer to skim through, but it needs to be able to be read by the ATS. Otherwise, they’ll just skip past your application.

7. Be Wary Of Resume Designs and Graphics

Be careful what graphic design elements and colors you choose to use. Most of the time they’re not friendly to the ATS. The ATS won’t pick up certain things on a resume such as lines, columns, or tables. However, lines can be used to make the resume more readable for a human reader. It’s still commonly used with many resume builders like Rezi

8. Double Check Your Resume Before Submitting 

The ATS will pick up errors and mistakes on your resume. Whether that’s grammar or spelling, it’s detected almost immediately. If these are found, chances are you won’t secure an interview. It’s embarrassing, and it shows the hiring managers you haven’t put the effort to check through your resume.

Use An ATS Resume Checker 

Try using Rezi’s ATS resume checker. We offer a 7-day free trial and we’ll ensure you’re using the best practices for your job application.

It’s easy to follow. Watch the mini clip below to see how it works!

You’ll know where you need to make adjustments as you’ll be provided with feedback on what you can add to your job document.

Remember, you can also use our AI keyword targeting feature to find the things you need to include and pass the resume scanners.

We’ve helped many of our users and job seekers get their next job at even the most competitive companies, including Apple, Facebook, and HubSpot!

Conclusion 

ATS resumes are vital for the growth and development of your career. Whenever you want to change jobs, you’ll need to go through the resume writing process and create a customized, targeted application. 

Rezi is all for helping new and experienced employees in the workforce make the next step. 

For your ongoing job search now or in the future, always remember to optimize for the company’s job description and the applicant tracking system. 

Please give this guide a share if you found it useful to help fellow job seekers in the community!

This article's author, Astley, is an avid content marketer who specializes as an SaaS copywriter. Learn more at Minimalist Copy

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