How to Optimize Your Resume for Applicant Tracking Systems

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Job searching has been transformed by the internet and software. Studies show that 90% of Fortune 500 companies are using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) in order to manage the high volume of applicants. ATS is a software used by recruiters to electronically screen a large number of resumes efficiently in order to find the most qualified candidates. 

Today 70% of resumes are never even viewed by a human, and a majority of the applicants are ruled out by this system alone. So how do you ensure that your resume will be positively screened by an ATS system?

1. Use simple formatting

Don’t use complicated resume templates. While your resume may appear to be sophisticated and complex, unnecessary additions are not recognized by ATS systems and lead to your resume being removed from the process. Avoid fancy fonts, designs, colors, tables, logos, photos, etc. Additionally, format your resume chronologically and use common language. Functional resumes include dates written out (Ex: August 2021) so that it’s readable. This makes it easier for both recruiters and ATS systems to digest the information. 

2. Tailor your resume for each position

Use keywords and exact phrases highlighted in the job description. You want to make sure that key information is included on your resume and easy to find. Pay attention to hard skills that are mentioned several times in an application and incorporate them in your resume. This might include any software experience or methodologies the company is looking for in a candidate. Recognizing and applying important keywords will ensure that your resume is ATS-friendly.

3. Submit your resume as a Word Document

Last, submitting the correct file type guarantees that all of your hard work won’t go to waste. If you want to get past an ATS system, use a .docx file because all ATS systems can scan and read this type of file accurately. If you don’t have Microsoft Word, you can create your resume in Google Docs and download it as a .docx file for free. 

Ultimately, any ATS-optimized resume certifies that it will be easily read by a scanner or recruiter. If you need any additional direction, we’re here to help. PathMatch has guided thousands of students and recent college grads through improving their resumes for Applicant Tracking Systems so they can land great internships and their dream jobs. Click this link to schedule your free consultation today!

Want even more resume tips? Download the Pathmatch app to discover companies that match your interests, strengths, and goals! Pathmatch can help find the perfect career fit for you! 

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