How to Write an ATS Resume [16+ Templates Included]

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Job hunting often involves facing rejection, as not everyone secures an interview or job offer. However, there’s another challenging aspect to the job search: the possibility of your resume being rejected by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) even before a human recruiter reviews it. In many instances, your resume must successfully navigate through an ATS to reach the recruiter. Surprisingly, more than 70% of job applications do not make it through this initial screening process.

Don’t worry; we’re here to help! Getting your resume past applicant tracking systems doesn’t have to be challenging. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process:

This comprehensive guide will include the following topics:
1. Understanding Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
2. Crafting an ATS-Optimized Resume
3. Checking Your Resume for ATS Compatibility
4. Access to 16+ ATS-Friendly Resume Templates for 2023.

Stay tuned for valuable insights and practical tips to enhance your job search success.

What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software tool that employers utilize to streamline and oversee the entire job application process. This system is responsible for gathering, scanning, and ranking all incoming applications.

Originally, ATS was primarily designed for larger corporations. This is evident in the statistics, as approximately 75% of large companies utilize ATS due to the high volume of applications they receive daily. However, the use of ATS has expanded significantly over time, with companies of all sizes, including more than 98% of Fortune 500 companies, now adopting ATS as a standard part of their recruitment processes.

What is the reason behind the widespread adoption of ATS by numerous companies?

ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) has received positive feedback from 95% of professionals for two primary reasons:

1. Productivity Enhancement: ATS greatly improves a company’s productivity by effectively managing the influx of job applications. Instead of manually sifting through stacks of paper resumes, the online system streamlines the process and keeps everything well-organized.

2. Non-Discriminatory: ATS operates in a non-discriminatory manner, as it doesn’t consider factors like age, gender, or race when evaluating applicants. This impartiality ensures a fair and unbiased assessment of candidates, as machines are incapable of exhibiting bias.

Here’s how the ATS process typically unfolds:

– Job Posting Creation: The system generates job postings tailored to the company’s specific requirements.

– Distribution: These job postings are then disseminated through various channels, including the company’s website, job boards, hiring platforms, or email.

– Application Scanning: When job applications are submitted, ATS scans each of them.

– Resume Segmentation: ATS breaks down each resume into distinct sections, such as Work Experience, Education, Skills, Languages, Certifications, etc.

– Keyword and Qualification Search: The system conducts a search for specific keywords and qualifications within these resume sections to determine if the applicant’s credentials align with the job description.

For instance, if you’re applying for a tax manager role, the ATS would look for keywords like “tax manager,” “5+ years of experience,” “tax returns and affairs,” “employer satisfaction,” and “strong communication skills.”

– Matching and Ranking: ATS then matches the resume against the list of job requirements. Resumes that don’t meet the essential criteria are automatically discarded, while those that do are ranked by relevance. The most suitable resumes are placed at the top of the recruiter’s priority list.

This systematic approach not only saves time and resources for companies but also ensures a fair and consistent evaluation of candidates.

Let’s use an example to illustrate this process:

Imagine you’re applying for a tax manager position, and your resume summary states:

“I am a highly motivated tax manager with over five years of experience in handling tax returns and related matters. I have a proven track record of success, ensuring employer satisfaction through strong communication skills.”

When processed by an ATS, it identifies key phrases in your summary:

– “Tax manager”
– “5+ years of experience”
– “Tax returns and affairs”
– “Employer satisfaction”
– “Strong communication skills”

The ATS then cross-references these phrases with the job requirements:

– ✓ Matches with “tax manager”
– ✓ Matches with “5+ years of experience”
– ✓ Matches with “employer satisfaction”
– ✓ Matches with “communication skills”
– ✗ Does not match with “Analytical skills”
– ✗ Does not match with “Microsoft Office”

If your resume fails to meet the fundamental requirements, it is automatically rejected. However, if it aligns with these requirements, it is ranked by relevance, with the most suitable resumes placed at the top of the recruiter’s list.

How to Create an ATS Resume (Step-By-Step)

Now that you have an understanding of how ATS operates, let’s delve into the process of crafting a resume that can successfully navigate through it. Here are the steps to create an ATS-friendly resume:

Step 1: Select the Appropriate Resume Format

If you’re new to the workforce, you may want to review our guide on creating a resume before optimizing it for ATS.

Choose the right resume format, and the most ATS-friendly one is the reverse-chronological format. This format highlights your work experience by placing it at the top of the page. It then arranges your experience from most to least relevant. Additionally, it’s the preferred format for the majority of recruiters, making it the optimal choice in nearly all cases.

Step 2: Opt for the Appropriate File Type

For your resume, it’s advisable to save it as a PDF file, as this format is generally compatible with most ATS systems. PDFs are reliable for maintaining the design and formatting of your resume.

However, it’s essential to be aware that some older ATS models may have difficulty reading PDF files. To ensure compatibility, check the job posting or application instructions. If it explicitly requests a Word document (e.g., .doc or .docx), this may indicate that the ATS in use cannot read PDFs. In such cases, submit your resume in the specified file format.

Step 3: Utilize an ATS-Friendly Resume Template

Many applicants face rejection due to the use of resume templates that ATS systems cannot interpret correctly. Elaborate templates with intricate designs may become scrambled when processed by the system.

To avoid this, it’s crucial to select a well-tested ATS-friendly template. Novorésumé offers a range of resume templates that are designed to work effectively with ATS systems. These templates have been developed in collaboration with recruiters and employers to help you create an impressive resume that can successfully navigate the ATS screening process.

Step 4: Opt for a Simplified Layout

(Note: If you’ve chosen a Novorésumé template, you can skip this step since the templates come with the appropriate formatting. Otherwise, continue reading.)

When crafting your resume, it’s essential to maintain a straightforward layout. Here are some key considerations:

– Font: Choose a common and easy-to-read font. Use larger font sizes for section headers and smaller ones for the content.

– Bullet Points: Emphasize your achievements and qualifications using bulleted lists. It’s important to select simple bullet point characters, such as solid circles or squares. Complex characters might not be compatible with ATS systems.

Here’s an example of a correctly formatted entry:

Correct Example
– Full professional proficiency in English and Spanish
– Limited working proficiency in French

For additional tips and guidance on resume layout, you can refer to our comprehensive guide.

Step 5: Label Your Sections Clearly

While this may seem obvious, it’s worth emphasizing the importance of correctly labeling your resume sections. Ensure that your work experience is listed under “Work Experience,” skills under “Skills,” and so on. This clear and consistent labeling is crucial for the ATS to accurately identify and interpret the content of your resume.

Step 6: Customize Your Resume with Relevant Keywords

Keywords play a vital role in getting your resume noticed by ATS and ensuring it passes the initial screening. Here’s how to tailor your resume with keywords effectively:

1. Identify Keywords: Begin by carefully reviewing the job advertisement you’re applying for. Look for two types of keywords:
– Job-Related Skills: These are essential qualifications and characteristics for the job. Examples include “data analysis,” “research,” and “problem-solving.”
– Action Verbs: These words showcase your accomplishments and successes in previous job roles. Examples include “created,” “maximized,” and “solved.”

2. Create a List: After analyzing the job posting, make a list of these keywords.

3. Strategically Incorporate Keywords: Now, incorporate these keywords into your resume. However, avoid simply scattering them randomly throughout your document. Remember that your resume will eventually be read by a human after it passes through ATS.

– Pro Tip: Avoid using acronyms. Some ATS systems may not recognize abbreviations. Spell out a word and add the acronym for clarity, e.g., “Bachelor of Public Administration (BPA).”

Let’s take a practical example from a job ad for a Social Media Expert:

Job Ad Highlights:
– Social media strategy
– Competitive analysis
– Community engagement
– Data/metrics analysis
– Web design and development
– CRO and SEO
– Business Communications, Advertising, and Public Relations

You can group these keywords in relevant sections of your resume:

– Work Experience: Utilize words like “develop,” “analyzing,” and “strategy.”
– Skills: List skills such as “CRO,” “SEO,” “Data analysis,” and “multitasking.”
– Education: Include keywords like “studies in Communications” and “Marketing.”

For further guidance on industry-specific keywords, refer to our comprehensive guide on resume keywords.

Lastly, it’s essential to avoid including images and graphs in your resume, as these elements can be problematic for ATS systems to interpret accurately.

Key Takeaways

The article provided underscores the following key points:

1. Widespread Use of ATS: A majority of companies employ Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) as a part of their application management procedures. ATS is designed to collect, scan, and rank resumes submitted by job applicants.

2. Impact on Job Applicants: While ATS systems enhance efficiency for recruiters, they can pose difficulties for individuals seeking employment. According to the article, more than 75% of job seekers do not successfully navigate the ATS screening process.

3. ATS-Optimized Resume Format: To enhance the likelihood of success with ATS, it is advisable to adopt a specific resume format. This format emphasizes simplicity in aspects such as font, design, and layout, and encourages the use of bulleted lists.

4. Significance of Keywords: Keywords hold a crucial role in crafting a resume compatible with ATS. ATS software scans resumes to identify specific keywords that match the job description. To tailor your resume effectively for ATS, the article suggests identifying pertinent keywords from the job posting and grouping them into designated sections.

In summary, the article stresses the importance of customizing your resume to align with ATS requirements. This involves maintaining a straightforward format, incorporating job-specific keywords, and categorizing them into distinct sections. This approach can enhance your chances of passing the initial ATS screening and capturing the attention of recruiters.