How to Write a Resume for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

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How to Write a Resume for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Recruiters have always been quick to judge resumes, this is nothing new. However, nowadays many resumes are not even glanced at by people, they are filtered out immediately by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

What is an applicant tracking system? An ATS is a type of software employers use to filter resumes and decide who are the strongest candidates. An ATS scans a resume for keywords and judges whether the candidates have the relevant skills and experience.

ATS systems save employers time as they reduce the number of resumes that need to be scanned manually. Whether we like them or not they are here to stay.

The good news is, if you understand how an ATS works, it is simple to produce a resume using a resume builder which beats the ATS and gets you through to the interview stage.

How to write a resume for an Applicant Tracking System


If your resume includes the keywords the employer is looking for then the ATS will rank your resume highly and your resume will be shortlisted. The keywords are different for each job which means you have to tailor your resume for each job application.

The keywords include the required skills, qualifications, and work experience specific to the job. Thankfully, the keywords an ATS looks for isn’t a secret. They are generally listed in the job posting.

Customizing your resume for each job application can be time-consuming. Using a resume template is an effective way of making quick edits and producing a professional-looking resume. Knowing how to beat as applicant tracking system is key and you can do it by following the steps listed below

Tips on how to beat an ATS and get a job interview

Writing a resume which is not filtered out by an ATS recruitment system is simple as long as you follow these steps. It is also important to remember that your resume will be read by a person after the ATS has scanned it. It is important to write an ATS-friendly resume which is eye-catching, concise, and error-free.

1) Identify the applicant tracking system keywords

Read each job posting carefully and highlight the keywords. Focus on soft skills such as communication skills as well as your hard skills. Think about what the employer is looking and make a list of keywords.

2) Work the keywords into your resume

Find a natural way to use the keywords you’ve identified in your resume. You can include them in your job descriptions, achievements, and skill section. Make sure you use any industry-specific terminology which is used in the job posting.

3) Use the exact words and related words

It is important to include the keywords exactly as they are written in the job posting. At the same time, you should avoid repetition. If there is a skill or requirement which is clearly central to the job role you should try and mention it more than once, but use synonyms as well as the keywords.

4) Optimize your job roles

If a specific job title is mentioned in the job posting try and include the same words. Do not invent job titles as it is not worth the risk. But, if you have held the position, word the job title as it is in the job posting.

5) Include job dates

Don’t leave off the dates of employment as some ATS systems measure the amount of experience you have. A chronological resume is an effective format as the amount of experience is clearly presented for the ATS.

6) Don’t sacrifice readability

Don’t force keywords into your resume at the expense of readability. A person will look at your resume once it gets past the ATS stage so make sure it is clear and concise. Read a guide on how to write a resume to make sure your resume is up-to-scratch.

7) Make sure your social media profiles are consistent with your resume

Some employers also use software to scan the LinkedIn profiles and other social media profiles of job candidates to check whether the information between their resume and social media is consistent. Make sure it is.