So, you find the perfect job opportunity, customize your latest resume, and submit your application online. But unfortunately, it did not even reach the recruiter. Where did you go wrong? Guest post from Aditya Sharma

There is a high chance that your resume is lost somewhere in cyberspace. After all, your resume needs to get parsed by the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) before it even gets the chance to reach the recruiter.

This doesn’t sound too good, does it?

It doesn’t. And here’s the kicker:

You need an ATS-targeted resume to win in the job market today.

If you don’t know what it is, don’t worry – you’ll learn all about it in this blog. This blog will tell you everything that you should know about applicant tracking systems and how you can optimize your resume to beat these bots.

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

An applicant tracking system or ATS is a software used by recruiters and employers to shortlist job applicants. The ATS collects, sorts, scans, and ranks the job applications to thin the herd for the company. Initially created for large corporations to deal with a huge inflow of job applications, today, companies of all shapes and sizes rely on ATS to help streamline their recruitment process.

How do Applicant Tracking Systems work?

ATS is nothing but an electronic gatekeeper for companies before they let anyone in. The ATS is responsible for parsing a resume’s content into categories and then scan it for specific keywords. If the resume for whatever reason is not ATS compatible, then out goes the resume. This means if a resume is not written and formatted with the ATS in mind, even qualified candidates will be looked over for the ones with ATS compatible resumes.

Here’s the catch:

You need an ATS-targeted resume. There is no point of being highly skilled if they can’t do the bare minimum of getting your resume to the recruiter’s desk.

The first hurdle is to pass the ATS test with flying colors. Once you do, your chances of getting shortlisted becomes a walk in the park.

Attributes of a high-risk resume:

What puts your latest resume at risk?

Mentioned below is a list of the mistakes that you are potentially making:

  • Irrelevant information
  • Unnecessarily long resume
  • Obscenely fancy templates
  • Incompatible file type
  • Unreadable graphics and charts

How to write an ATS-targeted Resume:

There are no shortcuts to making an ATS-ready resume, but a few trips can help. We have listed them below:

1.   Select a compatible file type while submitting your resume:

Play smart by thoroughly evaluating your target job posting. Most companies mention the file type they need you to send your latest resume in. If they don’t explicitly mention it, stick to a PDF file as they would preserve the design and formatting of your latest resume.

2.   Use an ATS-friendly resume format:

Of the 3 resume formats that are widely used, two of them stand out.  This includes the reverse-chronological format and the combination (hybrid) format.

We have discussed them briefly below:

  • The reverse-chronological format showcases the trajectory of your career and education by listing a timeline starting from your most recent experience and dating back to the beginning.
  • The combination resume format is a combination of the reverse chronological resume format and the functional resume format (skill-based resume). Here, your skills are presented in the form of points which are grouped under unique skill-based headings while simultaneously showcasing the timeline of your work experience. Thus, this format gives equal weightage to your skills and work experience. You should use

Both the resume formats that we have discussed above are ATS-compliant. This means that by using these formats, you stand a high chance of ranking in the ATS, which further means a high chance of getting shortlisted too!

3.   Use keywords in your resume:

Be sure that you optimize your latest resume by using relevant keywords wherever possible.

Keywords are those skill-sets that most recruiters look for in an ideal candidate. They are generally listed in the job description. Using these keywords in your resume is a great way to show that you have all the relevant skills that the recruiter is looking for. Moreover, your resume gets positively parsed once the ATS detects these keywords in your resume.

Now that you know the importance of keywords and how it can help you, all you have to do now is scrutinize the job description of your target job posting and look for these keywords. Once you identify them, organically incorporate them in the “key skills” section of your resume as long as you can justify using them. This means that you should not blatantly stuff your resume with keywords but only use them if you have actual real-life experience in working on it. After incorporating these keywords in the “key skills” section, pepper the same terms throughout your resume.

4.   Avoid using complex images, charts, and other graphics:

Although charts and images make your resume more attractive, to a bot, these embedded images will potentially pass off as a garbled mess. Moreover, using these in your resume unnecessarily increases the length of your resume. This is bad news for you because any resume that crosses the two-page threshold meets with potential rejection. In fact, if you have less than 10 years of work experience, you need to strictly keep your resume limited to one page.

Moreover, from the perspective of the ATS, an informative and thoughtfully curated one-page resume which is embedded with relevant information and the right keywords enjoys the advantage of being ranked higher than other resumes. Thus, you should avoid images, charts and other graphics at all costs!

5.    Use one-liner bullet points, bucketing & bolding, and quantify your achievements:

Your resume should be reader-friendly, effective and highly relevant to get parsed by any ATS system scrutinizing it. Here are some tips and tricks to accomplish this:

  • Use one-liner points to talk about your roles & responsibilities: This makes your resume reader-friendly.
  • Group similar one-liner points under unique subheadings (bucketing) and highlight your key achievements within each point using bolding: This helps enhance the relevance of your resume as the ATS is able to easily detect your key functions and your key achievements or career highlights in one go.
  • Quantify your contributions by using performance/achievement figures instead of vaguely talking about your roles & responsibilities, you can show how your actions benefited the organizations you have worked with. By doing this, you’re not just stating that you are valuable but you are proving your value by speaking in the language of results. This makes your resume more meaningful and relevant to the ATS (and the recruiter) that is evaluating your resume.

Conclusion:

 So, you find the perfect job opportunity, customize your latest resume, and submit your application online. But unfortunately, it did not even reach the recruiter. Where did you go wrong?

There is a high chance that your resume is lost somewhere in cyberspace. After all, your resume needs to get parsed by the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) before it even gets the chance to reach the recruiter.

This doesn’t sound too good, does it?

It doesn’t. And here’s the kicker:

You need an ATS-targeted resume to win in the job market today.

If you don’t know what it is, don’t worry – you’ll learn all about it in this blog. This blog will tell you everything that you should know about applicant tracking systems and how you can optimize your resume to beat these bots.

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

An applicant tracking system or ATS is a software used by recruiters and employers to shortlist job applicants. The ATS collects, sorts, scans, and ranks the job applications to thin the herd for the company. Initially created for large corporations to deal with a huge inflow of job applications, today, companies of all shapes and sizes rely on ATS to help streamline their recruitment process.

How do Applicant Tracking Systems work?

ATS is nothing but an electronic gatekeeper for companies before they let anyone in. The ATS is responsible for parsing a resume’s content into categories and then scan it for specific keywords. If the resume for whatever reason is not ATS compatible, then out goes the resume. This means if a resume is not written and formatted with the ATS in mind, even qualified candidates will be looked over for the ones with ATS compatible resumes.

Here’s the catch:

You need an ATS-targeted resume. There is no point of being highly skilled if they can’t do the bare minimum of getting your resume to the recruiter’s desk.

The first hurdle is to pass the ATS test with flying colors. Once you do, your chances of getting shortlisted becomes a walk in the park.

Attributes of a high-risk resume:

What puts your latest resume at risk?

Mentioned below is a list of the mistakes that you are potentially making:

  • Irrelevant information
  • Unnecessarily long resume
  • Obscenely fancy templates
  • Incompatible file type
  • Unreadable graphics and charts

How to write an ATS-targeted Resume:

There are no shortcuts to making an ATS-ready resume, but a few trips can help. We have listed them below:

1.   Select a compatible file type while submitting your resume:

Play smart by thoroughly evaluating your target job posting. Most companies mention the file type they need you to send your latest resume in. If they don’t explicitly mention it, stick to a PDF file as they would preserve the design and formatting of your latest resume.

2.   Use an ATS-friendly resume format:

Of the 3 resume formats that are widely used, two of them stand out.  This includes the reverse-chronological format and the combination (hybrid) format.

We have discussed them briefly below:

  • The reverse-chronological format showcases the trajectory of your career and education by listing a timeline starting from your most recent experience and dating back to the beginning.
  • ●      The combination resume format is a combination of the reverse chronological resume format and the functional resume format (skill-based resume). Here, your skills are presented in the form of points which are grouped under unique skill-based headings while simultaneously showcasing the timeline of your work experience. Thus, this format gives equal weightage to your skills and work experience. You should use

Both the resume formats that we have discussed above are ATS-compliant. This means that by using these formats, you stand a high chance of ranking in the ATS, which further means a high chance of getting shortlisted too!

3.   Use keywords in your resume:

Be sure that you optimize your latest resume by using relevant keywords wherever possible.

Keywords are those skill-sets that most recruiters look for in an ideal candidate. They are generally listed in the job description. Using these keywords in your resume is a great way to show that you have all the relevant skills that the recruiter is looking for. Moreover, your resume gets positively parsed once the ATS detects these keywords in your resume.

Now that you know the importance of keywords and how it can help you, all you have to do now is scrutinize the job description of your target job posting and look for these keywords. Once you identify them, organically incorporate them in the “key skills” section of your resume as long as you can justify using them. This means that you should not blatantly stuff your resume with keywords but only use them if you have actual real-life experience in working on it. After incorporating these keywords in the “key skills” section, pepper the same terms throughout your resume.

4.   Avoid using complex images, charts, and other graphics:

Although charts and images make your resume more attractive, to a bot, these embedded images will potentially pass off as a garbled mess. Moreover, using these in your resume unnecessarily increases the length of your resume. This is bad news for you because any resume that crosses the two-page threshold meets with potential rejection. In fact, if you have less than 10 years of work experience, you need to strictly keep your resume limited to one page.

Moreover, from the perspective of the ATS, an informative and thoughtfully curated one-page resume which is embedded with relevant information and the right keywords enjoys the advantage of being ranked higher than other resumes. Thus, you should avoid images, charts and other graphics at all costs!

5.    Use one-liner bullet points, bucketing & bolding, and quantify your achievements:

Your resume should be reader-friendly, effective and highly relevant to get parsed by any ATS system scrutinizing it. Here are some tips and tricks to accomplish this:

  • Use one-liner points to talk about your roles & responsibilities: This makes your resume reader-friendly.
  • Group similar one-liner points under unique subheadings (bucketing) and highlight your key achievements within each point using bolding: This helps enhance the relevance of your resume as the ATS is able to easily detect your key functions and your key achievements or career highlights in one go.
  • Quantify your contributions by using performance/achievement figures instead of vaguely talking about your roles & responsibilities, you can show how your actions benefited the organizations you have worked with. By doing this, you’re not just stating that you are valuable but you are proving your value by speaking in the language of results. This makes your resume more meaningful and relevant to the ATS (and the recruiter) that is evaluating your resume.

Conclusion:

The job market demands that you up your game and do what it takes to reach your goals. This applies to resumes too. Our advice: Follow the 5 steps that we have mentioned above to write an ATS-targeted resume. This will help you stand a high chance at getting shortlisted vis-à-vis professionals who don’t!

The job market demands that you up your game and do what it takes to reach your goals. This applies to resumes too. Our advice: Follow the 5 steps that we have mentioned above to write an ATS-targeted resume. This will help you stand a high chance at getting shortlisted vis-à-vis professionals who don’t!