How to Optimize Your Resume: Key Techniques to Achieve ATS Compliance

Optimize your resume to improve its compatibility with automated systems used by most fortune 500 employers to screen job applicants. The goal is to ensure that your resume is easily readable and understandable by these systems so that it can accurately assess and rank highly in the selection process. The key techniques to reach ATS compliance include using a simple and clear format, including relevant keywords, tailoring your resume to the targeted job role, and avoiding graphics and tables.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to optimize your resume for Application Tracking Systems (ATS) that most recruiters use in the hiring process.
Use ATS Compliant Format
Formatting plays a crucial role in achieving ATS (Applicant Tracking System) compliance because ATS systems are designed to scan and process plain text resumes. ATS won’t recognize the content in the resume if you include graphical tables or text. Further, if your resume is not formatted properly, it may not be parsed correctly by the ATS system, and important information may be overlooked or lost.
To ensure your resume format is absolute complaint with ATS, use the following guidelines.
  • Use clear, concise headings, and bullet points to make it easier for the ATS to scan your resume.
  • Avoid using graphics, tables, or other complex formatting elements.
  • Use simple font styles, such as Arial or Times New Roman, in a size that is easily readable (10-12 points).
  • Make sure your resume is formatted consistently throughout, using the same font styles and heading levels for each section.
You can find the ATS complaint templates here.
Include Related Keywords
Always use industry-specific keywords to ensure your resume parse through the ATS system during screening. Keywords are used by recruiters and hiring managers to search for suitable candidates. Using targeted keywords such as (SIEM, Vulnerability Assessment, Malware Researcher, etc. for Cyber Security Analyst Job) helps your resume to be scanned and evaluated by the system.
Use the following guide to effectively incorporate keywords into your resume:
Research the job you’re applying on LinkedIn or Indeed. Look for common keywords and phrases that are used in job postings and job descriptions. Use these keywords and phrases in your resume, particularly in the summary, work experience, and skills sections. Make sure you’re using the keywords and phrases in context, and don’t overuse them to the point where your resume feels unnatural or stuffed with keywords.
  • If you’re applying for a software engineering position, relevant keywords could be “JavaScript,” “Agile methodology,” “API development,” and “cloud computing.”
  • If you’re applying for a teacher position, relevant keywords could be “curriculum development,” “classroom management,” “student assessment,” and “lesson planning.”
  • If you’re applying for a financial analyst role, relevant keywords could be “financial modeling,” data analysis,” “risk management,” and “investment banking.”
  • If you are applying for a marketing role, relevant keywords could be “marketing strategy,” “brand management,”
Consider using variations of the keywords you’ve identified, to ensure that your resume will match different variations of job postings. For example, instead of only using “financial modeling,” you could also include “financial modeling skills” or “expert in financial modeling.”
For more details, kindly see our Resume examples here.
Tailor your Current Experience in Accordance with Posted Job:
Tailoring your current experience to match the job you’re applying for is an important step in optimizing your resume. Customizing your resume in accordance with the targeted job roles 2x your chances for an interview and further, it shows hiring managers that you have the specific skills and qualifications they’re looking for.
Tailoring a resume means highlighting the skills, responsibilities, and achievements that are most relevant to the targeted job role.
  • If you’re applying for a marketing coordinator role, and your previous experience was as a marketing assistant, focus on the responsibilities and achievements that demonstrate your skills in coordinating marketing campaigns, managing budgets, and collaborating with cross-functional teams.
  • If you’re applying for a software engineer role, and your current experience is as a software developer, emphasize your experience in developing software using specific technologies and programming languages, such as Python or C++. Highlight any projects that demonstrate your ability in managing teams and technical projects.
File Type
It is very important to save your resume in word (.docx), .pages, or PDF files as these are the most compatible with ATS systems.

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