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Consistently applying for jobs and wondering if someone is even going through your job applications? Are you actively submitting your resume on different job portals and still getting no reply? If yes, it might be the right time to make some vital changes to your resume. When recruiters receive a lot of job applications, the best way for them to cherry-pick the bests of the lot is by taking the help of technology. For pre-screening, companies leverage an application tracking system (ATS) and finalize the best candidate for a specific job role.

An ATS software looks for specific job-relevant keywords and filters out the best candidates for the job/role. It also passes the most relevant resume to the recruiters to save their time and efforts. Did you know that over 98% of Fortune 500 companies use one or the other kind of ATS? Now the question is, how to make your resume pass the initial screening process? Let’s have a look at these 6 ways to beat the bot and build an ATS-friendly resume.

  1. Keyword Research
    Just like you search something on a search engine and reach for the first best results, recruiters search for the job-relevant keywords in a resume to find an ideal candidate. Recruiters give importance to keywords to screen the candidates and identify if they have the relevant skills and qualifications. ATS helps the recruiters in the initial screening process by finding all the job-related keywords in the candidate’s resume.One of the ways to add all the important keywords in your resume is by following the employers’ job description and picking up the keywords that define your experience and are true to your skills and expertise. You can also seek external help and hire professional resume writers to add the right industry-specific keywords.
  2. No Bluff
    Add all the important skills, strengths, and qualifications to your resume, however, do not add anything that is not true. Do not mention things that do not stand true to your expertise and are there just to impress the employer. Eventually, you will be asked to demonstrate and work per the mentioned skills and strengths.Also, give more importance to the tangible outcomes. While job search is getting more competitive than ever, it is important to mention the things that can help you stand out from the competition. Mention your concrete skills that can show measurable benefit to the employers, instead of mentioning keywords such as out-going or results-focused.
  3. Simple Formatting
    Keep it simple and clean. Stick to simple bullet points instead of adding graphics and images in your resume. ATS won’t be able to screen keywords mentioned on images/graphics. Also, avoid adding tables, logos, text boxes, visuals, hyperlinks, and less common text fonts, among others.Do not opt for fancy formatting, instead use the common fonts, text size, and bullet points to define a clear hierarchy. A graphic-heavy customized resume might get lost in the process and decrease your chances of landing on a job interview.
  4. Stay Consistent
    Use similar keywords across different professional platforms such as LinkedIn. This will help in staying consistent and maximizing your chances of getting hired. Do not add anything that is not true or exaggerate anything only to impress the recruiter. Eventually, your resume will be screened by human eyes.

    While preparing your resume, follow a proper hierarchy and add your work experience starting from the latest/current job role. Also, do not change the font or style at any point in the resume flow.
  5. Adding Qualifications
    Try to make your qualifications meet the needs of the specific job role. Understand the importance of adding all the pieces of training, certifications, and short courses as they might catch the eyes of the recruiters. Notice what terms are used for your industry-specific qualifications and add them in the same format such as ACCA or CAD. You should include both; the acronym as well as the complete phrase to meet the keyword requirements.
  6. Send the right file type
    PDFs are the best when it comes to saving your resume in the defined style and format, however, is it the best file type to send to the recruiter? While uploading your resume, if the file type gives an option to add the PDF file, go ahead and submit a PDF format, however, if it does not mention anything, you must play safe. PDFs are not much ATS-friendly, so, it is better to add a word doc in .doc or .docx format.

Always remember your resume has two different audiences – a robot for the pre-screening process and a human HR for the final review.

The Bottom Line Is
This might seem like a tall order to fill at this moment. However, remember how much it can help you to get your dream job. Building an ATS-friendly resume helps you serve two purposes at once – stand out in front of bots and humans as well. To accelerate your job search, you must invest some time in building an ATS-friendly resume or you may also seek professional resume services to make it all easy for you.

Bhuwanesh Bhatt is currently serving as an SEO Director at Job Nexus - a professional resume writing, editing, and distribution service provider that helps job seekers meet their potential recruiters.

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