How to Write a Resume That Will Get You Past the ATS in 2024

How to Write a Resume That Will Get You Past the ATS in 2024

Is your job search being haunted by the complexities of Applicant Tracking Systems? 

image representing key insights on ATS resume

According to Capterra, an ATS software, 75% of large companies use Application tracking systems. And around 70% of resumes are not seen by recruiters. 

This number is enormous, so there will be a loss for both employers and job seekers. Because candidates need to create ATS-friendly resume, and employers miss the right candidate. The competition in the job market is rapidly increasing, and the hiring process is also getting hectic. 

So, to get the recruiter’s attention towards your resume, you must understand how to write an ATS-friendly resume. In this blog, you will get to know about the basics of ATS software and its functionality. And a comprehensive guide for building an ATS resume. 

image representing how ATS works

ATS software helps recruiters analyze candidates' resumes and determine their qualifications. To understand how a candidate can create an ATS-friendly resume or, say, an ATS resume, we must understand how these ATS Application tracking systems work. 

So, let's understand how ATS software works and what keywords it scans for. And what recruiters will look in 2024. 

How does ATS software work?

Let's divide the whole hiring process and understand how ATS works in each stage: 

  1. Job posting - first, the company posts an opening that includes the skills and experience required for the job. The ATS software will analyze it and understand the job requirements and what to look for. 
  2. Application submission - when you apply for the job, usually, they will be on the company's portal, and the ATS systems will be connected to it. So, from there, it gathers all the information from your resume. 
  3. Resume parsing - The ATS system will automatically store and analyze your resume. It will gather existing keywords and other necessary information from your resume. 
  4. Matching - The ATS software will analyze the keywords and details extracted from the resume and match them with the job requirements. Whether the resume is suitable for this job or not.
  5. Ranking - based on the previous step. The ATS will provide a score for your resume. Based on how good or close your resume is to fulfill the requirement, 
  6. Shortlisting - recruiters filter out candidates based on scores and details provided by ATS. They can also search for specific keywords. 

Keyword research by ATS Software

  1. Hard skills - The ATS software will look for technical skills required for a job like programming languages—knowledge of particular software, etc. 
  2. Soft skills refer to skills usually required for a job other than technical skills like communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, etc. 
  3. Job titles - your previous job titles are mentioned in your resumes. It will check whether they are relevant to current requirements or not. 
  4. Company names - similar to job titles, ATS software will analyze the companies where you worked and whether that experience will be helpful or not by reading the description and experience you mentioned in your resume.
  5. Education - Your qualifications will be checked and matched to determine whether they carry relevant knowledge for the current opening. 

Common ATS pitfalls to avoid and overcome

Formatting Faux Pas:

  1. Fancy Formatting: Ditch the funky fonts, tables, and graphics. ATS bots prefer plain text, so stick to standard fonts and simple formatting.
  2. Non-Standard File Types: PDFs are king when it comes to ATS compatibility. Avoid doc, docx, or exotic formats that might get misinterpreted.
  3. Hidden Keywords: Burying keywords in headers, footers, or white text won't fool the ATS. Place them organically within your resume content.

Keyword Conundrum:

  1. Keyword Stuffing: Cramming your resume with every keyword from the job posting screams desperation and confuses the ATS. Use relevant keywords strategically and authentically.
  2. Need for Skills: Refrain from assuming the ATS software can read between the lines. Explain the skills and experiences listed in the job description, using relevant synonyms for variety.
  3. Irrelevant Buzzwords: Clichés like "team player" or "highly motivated" are red flags for the ATS. Show, don't tell, by providing concrete examples of your skills.

Phrasal Fatigue:

  1. Overused Phrases: Steer clear of generic statements like "responsible for" or "duties included." Focus on quantifiable achievements and impactful results using strong action verbs.
  2. Passive Voice: Keep your accomplishments from getting lost in the passive voice. Take ownership of your actions and use your active voice to showcase your contributions.
  3. Redundant Details: Remember to repeat information across your resume. Use each section to add new dimensions to your skills and experiences.

Beyond the Basics:

  1. Tailoring Neglect: Don't send the same generic resume for every job. Tailor your resume to each position, highlighting the relevant skills and achievements mentioned in the job description.
  2. Lengthy Narratives: Keep your resume concise and scannable. Aim for 1-2 pages for entry-level positions and 2-3 for experienced professionals.
  3. Need to include Quantifications: Don't just list tasks; quantify your achievements! Use numbers, percentages, and metrics to demonstrate the impact of your work.

Craft a Compelling ATS friendly resume

image representing tips to improve resume for ATS
  1. Keyword alchemy - use keywords carefully. You will find tons of ATS-friendly keywords online, but use only relevant and appropriate ones for the open position. This will help ATS to pick your resume and analyze it quickly. 
  2. Quantify your worth - share your achievements like an ant, even small ones. Simply listing your duties may sound like how responsible you were, but achievement speaks louder than anything else. 
  3. Use action verbs - even in resumes; using active rather than passive voice is suggested. It creates a significant impact on how you are conveying your skills and expertise. This shows your interest and confidence. 
  4. Tell your story - instead of mentioning things in bullet points, write a captivating narrative of your journey and explain what you have learned and can do. 
  5. Tailor your resume - often, we use the same resume for every job role or say we don't tailor a resume for every job. It is essential to always customize your resume according to different job roles, companies, and industries. It will help your resume stand out by clearly highlighting the requirements. 
  6. Proofread - after drafting your resume and sending it to the interviewer, always proofread it like a pro. Edit those silly typos errors and grammatical mistakes to avoid a lousy impression. Be careful with numbers or data mentioned in your resume. A small change can create colossal confusion. 
  7. Concise - to mention all the above, write only a short resume. Analyze everything and mention only which is most important and relevant. They always keep your resume concise. This will help ATS to understand your resume clearly and save time. 

Beyond The Basics of ATS- Friendly Resume

image representing pro tips to improve resume for ATS

We have covered the basics of a friendly resume and how to craft a compelling one. But are the basics enough to achieve your dream job? That, too, is when you know the level of competition and how ATS works in detail. 

Let’s learn advanced tactics to stand out among other ATS-friendly resumes; it's about your career growth.

  1. Data visualization- How graphically you present any data or statistics mentioned in your resume shows how interested and passionate you are about your field. For example, showing a sales increase you achieved through a bar graph. Remember, the key is simplicity – overcomplicated visuals might confuse the ATS.
  2. Creative Branding Elements: Adding subtle branding elements, such as a color scheme consistent with your brand, can make your resume stand out. This doesn't mean going overboard with colors but using them strategically to highlight essential sections like headings or critical achievements.
  3. Keyword Optimization: This involves strategically using industry-relevant keywords throughout your resume. These keywords are often the skills and experiences specific to the job description. 
  4. Clean Formatting: Ensure your resume has a clear, logical layout with standard fonts. An ATS can misread complex formatting. Use bullet points for listing achievements or skills, and maintain consistent spacing and font size.
  5. Relevant Section Headings: Use standard headings like 'Work Experience,' 'Education,' and 'Skills.' An ATS might not recognize custom headings. This ensures the system correctly categorizes all your information.

With this blog, you will understand beyond the basics of a resume and how to craft a compelling ATS-friendly resume. The whole process is complex and hectic. We understand your worry. You might wonder whether you should prepare for an interview or an ATS resume. 

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The importance of an ATS-friendly resume in today's job market cannot be overstated. With the majority of large companies and an increasing number of small businesses utilizing Applicant Tracking Systems to screen candidates, a resume not optimized for these systems may never reach human eyes, regardless of the applicant's qualifications. 

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