Learn how to beat ATS with this comprehensive guide.



The majority of job applications are rejected before they are seen by a human eye, which is surprising to many job seekers. An applicant tracking system verifies your resume before it reaches the hands of a real person. You can use these best practices to optimize your resume and beat these bots by learning everything you need to know about ATS.

A tracking system for applicants is what?

Employers and recruiters use applicant tracking systems, otherwise known as ATSs, during the hiring process in order to collect, sort, scan, and rank job applications that they receive for their open positions.

Applicant tracking systems were originally designed for large companies dealing with thousands of job applications each week. Around 99 percent of Fortune 500 companies use ATS software to streamline their recruitment process. Despite this, what began as a tool for large employers has become a standard tool for companies of all sizes.

Application tracking systems (ATS): How do they work?

Employers and hiring managers use applicant tracking systems as electronic gatekeepers. To determine whether a job application should be forwarded to a recruiter, the ATS parses the resume into categories and then scans it for specific keywords. Essentially, its job is to screen out unqualified candidates so that the recruiter can concentrate on evaluating those who are more likely to be good matches for the position. The ATS is prone to weed out the least qualified candidates instead of identifying those who are most suitable.

Consequently, if a resume template is not written and formatted with applicant tracking systems in mind, a qualified candidate can easily be overlooked.

What you need to know about writing ATS-friendly resumes

TopResume analyzed 1,000 resumes from professionals across the country with at least eight years’ experience to determine which mistakes cause applicant tracking systems to discard an application. Below is an infographic outlining some of the most costly mistakes that make it impossible for an ATS to scan your resume.

Use these tips to write and use an ATS-optimized resume to make sure your resume is compliant with an ATS.

Your resume should be formatted correctly

PDF files are not the most ATS-friendly file type, despite what many people think. It is true that PDF files preserve the design and format of your resume template best, but some ATS programs do not support them. In any case, if the system does not disclose the file types it supports,

It is recommended to use a Word document instead of a plain-text file for your resume file type because the best resume templates are written with two audiences in mind As a result, a recruiter or hiring manager will have more creative freedom when writing a resume.

Headers and footers should not contain important information

Many applicant tracking systems do not have the ability to correctly parse the information in the headers and footers of Word documents. The ATS failed to identify a portion of the contact information of 25 percent of job seekers, according to our study. Don’t let your resume suffer the same fate by placing contact information outside the header or footer (such as your name, phone number, or email address).

Make your resume keyword-optimized

Optimizing your resume with the right keywords (also known as keyword optimization) is a good way to make sure it is compatible with an applicant tracking system.

If you’re unsure of which keywords to include on your resume. Start by collecting three to five job descriptions that represent the position you’re applying for. You can then copy and paste the job description into an online tool like Online-Utility. Text Analyzer to identify the words and phrases that frequent use throughout the description. Incorporate these skills or qualifications into your resume if you possess them.

Graphics, images, and charts should avoid

Embedded images may look nice to the human eye. But they become a garbled mess after they pass through the applicant tracking system. An image or chart that shows your key skills cannot rea by the ATS, for example. The use of cool graphics to brand your name will avoid being picked up by an applicant tracking system (ATS).

Keep it simple with bullet points

On a resume, bullet points are an excellent way to highlight accomplishments and qualifications. You could lose your main selling points if you choose an elaborate symbol for your bullets. Bulleted lists on resumes should not contain intricate characters. To ensure that your bullet points make your resume more compatible with ATSs. Use simple options such as solid circles, open circles, or squares.

Here’s how to format your resume for ATS compatibility

Stick to the standard resume format, such as the hybrid resume, if you want your resume to pass the ATS. A professional summary section appears at the top of the document to summarize your key skills and qualifications. A chronological “Work History” section describes how you’ve been able to leverage these skills to produce results for employers.

Because applicant tracking systems rely on chronological data to analyze resumes. They do a better job of reading and interpreting hybrid resumes.

Because of this, it’s in your best interest to avoid the functional resume format at all costs. Where the emphasis is on your skills rather than chronological work history.


Your resume will scan for free by an ATS

With our free resume review, TopResume offers a free ATS resume scan. TopResume will give you feedback on your resume’s content and ATS compatibility when you request a free resume review.

The first part of the review examines your resume objectively from an information and design perspective. As part of the free resume review, you will see what information an ATS will pull from your resume. What information it cannot locate and retrieve (such as your name, contact information. Most recent job title, and where your resume currently ranks for top skills and keywords. Your resume will need to optimize if the ATS is unable to identify this important information or thinks. You’re qualified to do the job when you aren’t.



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