An Applicant Tracking System is software that automates and streamlines the hiring process to skim, scan, and rank the job applications received for an open position.
Once you submit your resume through an online application form or system, it automatically lands in the ATS. The Applicant Tracking System then parses or pulls out the resume’s information and categorizes it into a digital candidate profile.
Recruiters can search the ATS by keywords to match the open position. The ATS then scans the resume for specific keywords and weeds out the unqualified applicants to focus more on the candidates who are the right match.
Common Mistakes to Avoid while Formatting a Resume
If you want that your resume gets past the ATS scanning and reach the employer’s hands, you must avoid these common mistakes while formatting your resume. Some of the errors that should be avoided are abbreviations, tables, extra spacing, grammatical and spelling errors, etc.
ATS is not designed or programmed to recognize abbreviations like MBA, MCA, BA, BSC, etc. We, therefore, advise writing full forms rather than choosing an abbreviation. The recruiter may miss some top applicants while searching the long form of the keyword like Masters in Business Administration, Masters in Computer Applications, etc. However, we can fix this problem by writing the keyword and then using the abbreviated form in the bracket.
Though this may seem to be a solution, we advise you to avoid the use of abbreviations in the resume. Write the long form so that the ATS can scan the resume for the searched keyword.
Always use Traditional Bullet Points
Candidates are often confused about whether to use bullet points in their resumes submitted through ATS. Bullet points are, in fact, a great way of highlighting the accomplishments and qualifications on a resume. Standard bullet points help in organizing information on the ATS resume.
However, choosing elaborate symbols for bullets, like, stars, diamonds, etc., may not get parsed correctly. As a result, the important selling information can get scrambled. Use black dot bullet points to avoid the issues. The simplest bullet points enhance the resume and make it compatible with the ATS.
Marketing Head, ABC Company (2011-2019)
- Digital Advertising
- Evaluating and developing a marketing strategy
- Creative planning
- Communicating the idea to the team
- Team leader
Stick to Traditional Fonts
You definitely would want your resume to stand out from the others. For this, you may be compelled to use different and unique fonts. However, this may not work in your favor, as the ATS might not be able to parse those fonts.
Times Roman and Arial are two fonts that are most reliable for ATS recognition. Calibri, Cambria, and Verdana are also considered to be appropriate. Though font size doesn’t quite play a role, we suggest you use 10 or 11 points, as it gives a professional look to the resume.
Of course, you want your resume to land in the hands of the hiring manager! To make sure that it does, all you need to do is to stick to the traditional fonts and not experiment with the fonts, as your resume may fall into trouble.
Some of the ATS-approved fonts are:
- Times Roman
- Georgia and others
Most ATS cannot recognize and parse the information provided in the table. The information in the table, divided into sections, can often get jumbled up and lost.
While it may appear appealing, it can become a garbled mess. You can get it completely omitted from the application if you apply for the job position through an ATS.
This way, your resume can easily parse the ATS and won’t affect the chances of getting noticed by the hiring manager. The best way to organize information is by assembling it in bullet points rather than using complex tables. After all, you will not want your information to get lost while passing through the ATS.
Don’t use Extra Spacing within Words
ATS is crafted so that they are demanding over the keyword. If the keywords are not properly written and are separated by extra spaces, ATS won’t be able to recognize them.
We advise you to check your resume properly before uploading it via an ATS. Extra spacing can cause serious trouble to your resume, and it may as well get disqualified by the ATS. As a result, it will never reach the hiring manager.
If you want to get chosen for the job role you have applied for, make sure that your resume is well-formatted and does not contain any trivial issues such as extra spacing in keywords. Keywords are the most crucial factor in determining whether it should process your job application further or not.
For example: “Software developer” will be recognized as a complete skill. However, the ATS will not recognize “Software developer “because of the extra spacing between the two words. So, you need to check your resume carefully before uploading it.
The Importance of an ATS Friendly Resume
Writing an ATS-friendly resume will ensure that your job application parses the ATS and lands in the hands of the hiring manager. The purpose is to create a resume that will impress both the ATS and the hiring manager.
Writing an error-free resume with correct formatting helps it surpass the ATS. ATS-friendly resumes are easy to read, aligned with the job description, and noticeable to the hiring managers. As a result, the chances of getting a job increase.
Easy to Read
ATS-friendly resumes are free of fancy fonts, designs, and tables confusing for the ATS to read. ATS may not be able to pull out the information from such resumes that use many designs, fonts, etc. There is a fear that the information might collapse and be lost entirely.
ATS-friendly resumes focus more on experience and skills than complicated graphics and design. Also, the section headings like skills, work history, education, etc., help the system process the information correctly.
Aligned with the Job Description
You must create a customized resume for every job role you apply for. Customized resumes must contain keywords that reflect the specific job listings. Also, keep in mind the different keywords that you can alternatively use for the positions you are applying for—certain skills, certifications, etc.
Go through the job description well, and then write down some of the keywords that you notice in your resume. Copy the exact phrases and keywords mentioned in the job application. Do not use acronyms or synonyms as the ATS might not understand them. Avoid using unnecessary spacing between keywords.
For example, if the listing mentions a specific programming skill, instead of mentioning “other programming skills,” mention the exact name of the programming languages asked, like “C, C++, Java, Python” or any other.
Noticeable to Employers
Writing an ATS-friendly resume can help you get past the screening phase and straight to the hiring manager. Creating a custom resume that does not contain irrelevant details and designing can allow the ATS to derive the relevant information.
While crafting a resume, make sure that it focuses on the keywords, use formats that can be easily understood, avoid extra spacing, etc. The time and effort put into creating custom resumes will help your resume qualify for the ATS screening and land in the hands of the employer.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)
An ATS-friendly resume will ensure that your job application parses the ATS and lands in the hands of the hiring manager.
The resume format that is best for ATS must be simple and should:
Use bullet points
Avoid the use of unnecessary tables and designing
Should not contain unnecessary spacing between words
ATS keywords are phrases or specific keywords that hiring managers identify as necessary for a specific job role. ATS-friendly resumes must mirror the keywords from the job description.
Must-have HR Solutions for Growing Companies
Top 10 Best Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) in India for Startups in 2022