How to write an ATS Friendly resume that gets you noticed
Because of the internet, today is the best time to be alive…
Never in human history were job seekers able to find unlimited employment opportunities in such a short time.
You have the chance to apply to countless positions and land jobs you’d have never dreamed of decades ago.
Nothing interesting is ever completely one-sided.
As you get more opportunities to find the job you love, more people apply to the same job postings as you. And with that comes enormous competition forcing companies to use ATS.
So your best bet in this situation is obvious:
Appeal to computers by giving them what they want.
You must ensure a higher pass rate and play the numbers game until you’re hired. You’ll optimize your resume for ATS and keep applying until you get the job you deserve.
But here’s the thing:
You must think steps ahead when it comes to making an ATS-friendly resume.
Getting past screening systems is just the beginning. You should also think about what comes after that, which is convincing the recruiter.
You can’t sacrifice one part one at the expense of the other. Instead, you’ll optimize your resume to suit both algorithms and humans.
That brings us to the real question…
How do you create an ATS-friendly resume that also impresses recruiters?
Proper formatting is the common point across all applicant tracking systems. If your resume is hard to scan for ATS, you'll get ignored — a lot.
Therefore, you'll create the simplest format possible to help ATS understand your resume.
To do that, you must use:
- Clear information hierarchy and section design
- A 10-12 [font size and a standard font](https://enhancv.com/blog/resume-font/) (Arial, Times New Roman, Georgia, Calibri)
- Standard section labeling and titles (work experience, skills, education, certificates, etc.)
- [Proper headings and bolded title sections](https://enhancv.com/blog/resume-headings/)
- Standard bullet points instead of customized bullets for each job duty
At the same time, avoid using:
- Tables, columns, or text boxes
- Borders or lines
- Special characters and symbols
- Images, visuals, icons
Why is this so?
Although ATS are smart enough to screen and understand your resume, they cannot scan information in tables, images, borders, etc.
For your resume format, you can use either Docx or PDF, depending on what the job posting requires. Recruiters and ATS prefer these two formats as they can maintain your original layout and structure as it is.
Since your file will be saved in a hard drive with dozens of other resumes, be sure to give it a proper name instead of "resume.pdf."
You can, for example, name it "Thomas-Lampkin-Project-Manager.pdf". That allows recruiters to find it easily during the hiring process.