February 19, 2022

How Can I Have an ATS Friendly Resume? 3 Key Factors

In general, when we apply for a job position, just like us there will be dozens or even hundreds of candidates. In the past, talent acquisition professionals had to check a myriad of resumes one by one. Fortunately, those days are gone. Nowadays they save a lot of time by using ATS. 

ATS is technology that, among other features, can check many resumes in a short period of time. So, if you want to have an attractive resume for these systems, you need to know what is the criteria they value the most. In this article, we will show you how you can have an ATS friendly resume. 

What is an ATS? 

ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System and it’s a recruitment software that is able to receive, manage and check all applications candidates send for the available positions, among some other features. 

Today, ATS are increasingly common. Recruiters use them to filter the resumes that do not meet the requirements necessary for the position and keep only the best candidates. All that without investing too much time. In other words, this software will be one of the very first filters you will have to pass. 

Since these are software, they do not check resumes the same way people do. You will have to take into account special criteria. Here we will show you the main guidelines to have a good resume for ATS. 

How you can have an ATS friendly resume? 

ATS resume

1. Have a simple resume 

Avoid fancy formatting 

The style and the formatting are details in resumes that some candidates tend to use to differentiate themselves from the rest. Aspects such as background colors, flashy structures or charts can be useful to catch the eye of people, but that is not the case with ATS. In fact, you achieve the opposite. 

ATS read from left to right and usually in straight line. For example, if you add text in columns in your resume, the ATS will scan the first lines of each column as if they were one. The result will be a complete mess for the recruiter. Inconvenient, right? 

The same happens with other similar formatting-related details that difficult the work of ATS. If you want to have an ATS compatible resume, we recommend not using Words tables, text boxes, columns, etc. 

In other words, when it comes to ATS, the simpler the resume, the better the results. Ok, that doesn’t mean that your resume has to be boring. You can use style elements such us bullets, bold, italics and color text. 

Avoid graphics 

You might be thinking about adding some images to support your information and make your resume more attractive. However, using images and graphics won’t be of much help with an ATS. In fact, this software can’t read them and, after scanning them, they won’t be shown in the final result the ATS will show the recruiter. At the end, including graphics won’t help you at all. 

Avoid special fonts 

Maybe you want to show the text in your resume in a different form. Special fonts are another flashy element that don’t provide anything valuable for ATS. Yes, you will find many attractive fonts online, but these are mostly difficult to read for ATS. We recommend you sticking to the most common fonts such as Arial, or New Times Roman. 

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2. Include Keywords 

Keywords are a defining variable to make an attractive resume for recruiters and ATS alike. In the context of a job application, keywords are the terms or phrases that reflect the skills or knowledge that the position requires. 

How to know which keywords you should include? Ok, you have to check the job offering you are applying to and identify the terms that repeat the most. Generally, those will be the most important terms. Of course, include only the skills or knowledge that you really have. You must keep your resume as honest as possible. 

3. Select the right file format 

Finally, we have the variable of the file format. Avoid formats that save your resume as an image since, as we previously discussed, ATS can’t read them. Which ones are we talking about? Mainly formats such as JPG or PNG. 

What formats can you use? Here you have two main options. The first one is the classic Word docx format, which works perfectly with ATS. The second one is PDF since the most recent ATS can read this format better than in the past. Remember that both formats are easily accessible while saving the document in Microsoft Word. 

Now you know how you can have a good resume for ATS. Take these factors into account and your chances of passing this filter will a lot be higher. 

At Talent2Win, we strive to align your company’s business objectives with the best Talent Acquisition strategies available. If you want to learn more about the services we offer, do not hesitate to contact us.

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