How to make your resume ATS proof?


ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System in recruitment terminology.

It is a software that helps the recruiters in the process of recruitment from sourcing to onboarding the candidates.

Applicant Tracking Software makes the recruitment process fast and straightforward for the recruiters by maintaining the candidate database, candidate filtering according to job requirements based on their resume and matching them with the best-suited jobs.

Nowadays, almost everywhere, recruiters are using ATS software to make their hiring efficient. An estimated 95% of Fortune 500 companies currently use an ATS to manage their applicant tracking process.

ATS is a helping hand for the recruiters as mid to large size organizations receive hundreds of applications per job posting, making hiring a tough task. While ATS can come handy for sourcing (screening of the relevant candidates), scheduling interviews, sending email/text alerts & notifications to candidates, maintaining database & candidate pipeline.

How does an ATS work?

Applicant Tracking Systems collect and store resumes in a database.

Which can be either screened instantly for a certain job application or can stay in the database for long before being looked manually.

Some ATS automatically rank the applications based on the job description provided. Or recruiter can search for resume using required skills.

Even when searching manually chances are that the hiring manager will use keywords to search for relevant resume. And if your resume is not well optimized, HRs will never know how deserving candidate you are!

If your resume is not ATS proof, it will never reach to HR in the first place, let alone your fancy presentation. By keeping a few points in mind, you can create a resume to penetrate any Applicant Tracking Software.

How to make your resume ATS proof?

To make your resume pass all the algorithms implemented by the ATS to filter the resumes for a particular job, you need to keep these points in mind;

Use proper keywords

ATS software ranks applications based on certain algorithms and keyword search.

Analyze a few job descriptions for the position you are willing to apply and search the keywords which are most common and repeating in them and use them in Qualification summary, skills and in the experience section of your resume.

Replace the “Career Objective” to “Qualification Summary.”

It’s not ’90s anymore, using career objective in your resume does not look smart, neither it makes sense because no one reads that boring paragraph and it’s a waste of space in your resume. So instead use qualification summary involving the important keywords which best suit the job role you are applying for.

By doing this, you will kill the snake as well as save the stick because including keywords will pass the ATS and recruiter will also get to know how you will add value to their organization.

Don’t put important details in the header and footer

ATS generally ignore the header and footer and focus on the body of the resume. Some people place their contact information in the header and footer, which is ignored by the ATS. So, avoid this mistake and place your important information (like- contact number, Email ID, Name, etc.) outside the header and footer.

Keep your resume simple [avoid the use of images or graphs]

The embedded images, charts, or graphics in a resume looks pleasing to human eyes, but ATS are unable to read or identify them. In case, if you have placed a chart demonstrating your skills or images to make your resume look cool, then ATS will ignore them, and all this information will also get ignored. So avoid using images & graphics and make your resume look simple.

It should be properly formatted

The main content of your resume should be well formatted throughout the complete resume. Formatting is very important, select a format which highlights your titles & headings and stick with that.

Use spell-check

Spelling mistakes in a resume is not only a huge turn-off but an ATS will also discard the resume if it does not understand what is written.

Also, a spelling mistake can lead to instant rejection, even if your resume did pass through ATS. Use grammar checking tool, ask your friends to read your resume to find any errors.

Use text formats

Most of the ATS are unable to parse the PDF or other file formats (such as JPEG, etc), so in this case, your complete resume will be ignored by ATS. Use word (.doc or .docx) or text (.txt) file formats to avoid this.

Do not over optimize your resume for ATS

Using keywords in the resume is a good optimization technique which helps your resume to go beyond the wall of ATS into the hands of a recruiter.

But using the same keywords in resume more than 3-4 times can make your resume look spammy to ATS as well as the recruiter.

Use basic system fonts

Many Applicant Tracking Software does not understand fancy font and would ignore them if present on your resume. Use basic system fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, Courier, etc. which are easily understandable by ATS.

Basic fonts are generally the preinstalled ones on your system, using them will ensure nothing gets ignored by an ATS.

All these tips will help you to make your resume ATS proof and look professional and will be effective for recruiter perspective.

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Author: Sanjesh Sharma


HireTale is a technology start-up disrupting the whole recruitment eco-system. We differentiate ourselves in using technology-enabled innovative ideas in connecting recruiters & job aspirants. Register at to apply for top-notch jobs in India. Feel free to write to us at for any suggestions/feedback.

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