4 Easy Ways to Optimize Your Resume For The Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

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Have you ever applied to a job you really wanted and received an auto-rejection email weeks later? We’ve all been there, and it’s awful. You tirelessly wrote a cover letter and brushed up on your interview skills only to get a generic “Thank you for applying” note.

Have you considered revisiting your resume formatting? Your resume may be the reason why you are not getting a call back. For those who don’t know, recruiters often use Applicant Tracking System (ATS) softwares to sift through resumes and select top candidates to call for an interview. The ATS selects top candidates’ resumes for the hiring recruiter based on keywords sections from the job posting; for example: level of education, years of experience, and other job-specific jargon to determine which candidate is worth a call back.

Jobscan reports a whopping 98% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS in some part of the application process. It’s terrifying to think that your job application selection is in the virtual hands of a software but fear not, we have the best tips below to help you get noticed by employers:

Study the job posting.


You know you’re a perfect fit for the job but how do you reflect that in your resume? Analyze the job posting word for word – what are the key requirements described, what keywords are repeatedly mentioned? Then, use the keywords in your resume. For example, if collaboration is mentioned be sure to include keywords relating to “collaborating” and “teamwork” within your resume. Regardless of the ATS, you want to highlight these transferable skills on your resume to make it clear to the recruitment team that you have the right skills for the job.

Fix your formatting.


Creative resumes look amazing visually, but did you know they can interfere with ATS? Stick to a clean 1 pager for your resume. This is not only easier for the ATS to analyze, but also for a recruiter to be able to quickly glimpse through your resume. Avoid columns, text boxes, images and bright colours because this information is often missed by ATS. Save your resume as a PDF or word document, and don’t forget to label the file as your name for professionalism. Here is an easy template: Resume_Firstname_lastname.pdf. For more resume tips, check out our other editorials here.

Leverage word cloud generators.


Do a quick Google search to find hundreds of word cloud generators. Paste the job description into the word cloud generator and see which words and phrases appear most frequently. Now repeat the process with your resume – do the terms match up? If so, you’re on the right track to optimizing your resume for ATS!

Let employers find you with a video introduction.


Consider uploading a video introduction to your TalentEgg profile as a supplement to your resume. A video introduction is a short 30-second pitch about yourself, your experience and career goals. You can show off the real person behind your resume and also highlight your soft skills which actually matter more in the hiring process! And the best part? Your video and resume are stored in TalentEgg’s database for employers to find and contact you directly on the platform. Learn how to get started here.

That’s it! You’re armed with the tips you need to get started. Also, remember that the ATS is just a small portion of your application. Review the job requirements carefully and put your best foot forward. Keep the momentum going, you’ve got this!


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