How-To Guide for Formatting Resumes to Applicant Tracking System.


Ever send a resume to a company website and only to get a few weeks of silence? As companies adopt applicant tracking systems (ATS), this has become common.

These systems won’t be going away, so it’s important to learn how they work. When it comes to your online resume, the best rule is simplicity.

What’s an Applicant Tracking System?

An applicant tracking system (ATS) acts as a resume database and helps companies streamline their hiring process. It also allows them to review applicants quickly.

Many companies are shifting to digital systems as they eliminate paper applications and increase the number of applicants. These systems can organize and sort applications, but they can also be programmed to screen candidates based upon what you have included in your resume. It allows them to track applicants and ensure compliance with labor laws.

Common applicant tracking systems in India are iCIMS and Bullhorn. Ascendify can digest resumes submitted via job openings.

What is an ATS?

An ATS is a system that allows companies to open new positions and post them online via their corporate website or job boards. All applications submitted are saved in a database once the position has been posted. Recruiters can then search for applicants using keywords and phrases to find candidates that will help them move on to the next stage of the hiring process.

Many ATSs assign applications based upon the parameters of the open job. The applicant’s score is then used to rank and sort them. It is the ATS that screens applicants and not the recruiter.

You must note that not all ATSs work in the same way. Some systems are capable of handling small graphics while others cannot. Some prefer pdfs, while others need Word files. Your resume could easily get lost in the shuffle.

Although no process is perfect, this guide will help you prepare your online resume.

Step 1 – Answer all questions correctly and completely.

Employers rarely see 72% of resumes. It is therefore important to get the process started right. ATS screens applicants based on the information in their applications, such as where they are located and what experience they have. It would be best if you answered all questions in the application. If a question is not answered, the ATS could discard your resume. Your chances of getting a response to an online application are higher if you complete all information.

Step 2 – Format your resume in an ATS friendly manner

Avoid putting anything on your resume which could clog up the system when applying online. Avoid using templates and keep your formatting simple when applying online.

  • Your name and targeted title should be included in the title of your resume – for example, “Your Name – Marketing Director.”
  • Eliminate all special headings and stick with the most common headings for your resume, such as Summary, Work Experience and Education.
  • ATS won’t read data in images, tables, text boxes or text boxes. It is why it is best to avoid them. To make it easier for the ATS to scan your text for keywords or phrases, remove images, columns, tables and fields.
  • Avoid special characters and creative bullets, which can often be difficult to scan with an ATS scanner.
  • Avoid using special fonts, font treatment and colors. Use only black fonts, such as Arial or Georgia, Impact, Courier Courier, Lucinda Tahoma, Courier, Courier, Courier, Courier, Courier, Lucinda and Courier. Avoid underlining words, making it difficult to read lower-case letters like a g or j.
  • Avoid spelling mistakes, as an ATS won’t understand what you meant to write.
  • Contact information should be included in the resume’s body and not in the headers or footers.
  • Your resume can be saved as simple word doc (.doc) or a.txt document.
  • Avoid page numbers. Avoid templates that combine fields and tables. They can confuse ATS systems.
  • Write your employment history in the same order as the company name, title and city.

Step 3 – Focus on your resume’s content.

Once you have the format down, let us now look at the content of your resume to make sure it’s compatible with an ATS.

  • The section on enhancing your skills

Salesforce for healthcare professionals and Oncology for sales professionals. Both the abbreviations and the full version of the word should include. If you want to increase your chances of being found by the ATS, be sure to mention any industry-specific terminology and any certifications that you have received.

  • Personalize your resume

Your professional summary should include bulleted accomplishments and skills relevant to the job description. Next, you will need to find a natural way of including these keywords and phrases throughout your resume and summary.

Your job description can help you optimize your titles and headers. Let’s suppose you see “communication skills” throughout the job description. Make sure to include “communication skills” in your resume.

  • Don’t overuse keywords.

Are you looking for keywords? Absolutely. However, putting too many keywords in your resume will not get you anywhere.

Your ATS-optimized resume should be simple. It should also delight both machine and human readers. After being offered a job, feel free and confident to create a more professional version of your resume.