Creating an ATS Friendly Resume

Six brief seconds is the amount of time a recruiter will spend looking over one single resume. And that’s if it’s not trashed before even making it into the hands responsible for interviewing potential job candidates. Creating a resume to pass ATS helps better your chances.

What is an ATS? An applicant tracking system, or ATS, is HR software often used by employers during their hiring process. The software allows companies to collect, organize, track, and rank job applications and resumes, to make it easier to review and manage candidates.

According to a recent study by Preptel, the ATS rejects 75% of resumes due to incorrect formatting and optimization. When you consider that around 250 resumes are typically sent in response to one single job opening, that’s a heck of a lot of rejections! Here’s more bad news: Over 90% of employers use the ATS scan!

  • The good news is that you are not alone. Hired Resume Service can create an ATS friendly resume for you.
  • The even better news is that once you nail this very important aspect of creating an ATS compliant resume, there will still be a vast percentage of other hopeful candidates that will not make it past the ATS system, making it more probable that you’re the one landing the interview.

The ATS Compatible Resume

How do you make your resume compatible with Applicant Tracking System? It is key to read the job post for the specific job you want, and use it to tweak your summaries according to that job post. My point? You really want to tailor your resume to each job description or post. For example, if you are a Social Media Manager, and the job post you are interested in states that each candidate must have experience with Hootsuite and MailChimp, then you will not want to put “Social Media Management” in your skills section. Instead, you want to put “Hootsuite” and “MailChimp”.

Tips and Tricks on Skills

If you are familiar with Google Analytics, but the job post points out that Adwords knowledge is necessary, try putting “Google Analytics and Adwords.” Google Analytics alone will not pass ATS.
If you are skilled in Customer Relations, yet the job posting states that you must be skilled in Capture Planning, then put “Capture Planning” instead of “Customer Relations.”

Make sense? I hope so.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Resume Writing


  • Keep it standard, clean and simple.
  • Use standard fonts such as Times New Roman, Georgia, Garamond, Calibri (my personal favorite), Arial or Cambria.
  • Use font size of 10.5 to 12 for body and up to 14 for Headings.
  • Include personal website, if you have one.
  • Place keywords matching the job description on the top part of the resume.
  • Use a Word document.
  • Spell out uncommon abbreviations.
  • Combine short-term job ventures.
  • Write professional summary to match job post.
  • Narrow down your skills.
  • Tweak summaries and skills to each job post.


  • No need for images.
  • Don’t use charts.
  • No graphs.
  • No text boxes.
  • Don’t use headers and footers.
  • Don’t use the same resume for every job post.

The ATS Approved Resume Challenges We Face:

When a vacancy exists for a single job opening, one gets fairly overwhelmed seeing hundreds of applications. And I’m not kidding. It is doubtful if personnel managers and recruiters go through these applications one after the other. There just isn’t time for it. And I think we’ve all known that and have known that for a while now.

To ease this process, a lot of organizations are now using the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Given this, there is a need for job seekers to learn how to structure and optimize their resumes to meet the ATS standard.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at how we can overcome the challenge of making our resume ATS friendly

Working Principle of the ATS

The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software that collects the data of each applicant and gathers them in a large database. When the entire data is fed into this software, it sorts them into different categories. With this, the recruiting team will be able to sort and rank the applications following some factors. There is now complex software that contextualizes data, making it easier to perform accurate search results. After the ATS process the results, the job recruiters can access the database and check results that correspond with their specific requirement. If your resume fails to meet the set criteria, it won’t come up for human inspection and verification at that time.

With the advancement in technology and modernization of the 21st century, it should be noted that both large and even medium-sized firms are now using ATS on a daily basis, to screen hundreds to thousands of applications. Companies now find it easy to automate, streamline, and manage their recruitment processes via this application reading software.

Why Companies Utilize Robots for Recruitment Decisions

Robots perform at great speeds. It is an extremely tough task to screen applicants by going through individual resumes. This is where the ATS comes to play. It selects candidates based on the experiences and skills that match what the employers are seeking.

From statistics, over three-quarters of candidates don’t go beyond the ATS screening. This seems shocking; however, a large pool of application is screened and scaled down to a small size which the recruiting managers can handle.

Why do great resumes fail ATS screenings? Illegible fonts and formatting! The resumes of many qualified candidates are often screened out because the ATS is unable to read them. Create your resume in such a way that the layouts and graphics are readable.

At times, the ATS use an inbuilt optical character recognition (OCR) software for processing digital resumes. It performs this task by scanning your file and converts it to text format. From there, the system extracts your data and work experiences. We recommend using standard fonts like Arial, Verdana, and Times New Roman.

The Use of Unconventional Heading

There are standard conventional headings for resumes which everyone is familiar with. These headings have been computed into the Applicant Tracking System software. In this case, if you use an unconventional heading in your resume, like “Major Abilities” instead of “Skills,” the resume bot will not recognize it and hence, skip it or mix up your contents under wrong categories or even misread your entire headings. For instance, your qualifications or experiences can be placed under different subheadings as a consequence. This will adversely affect your screening process.

How to Write Headings on Resumes

  • Summary
  • Core Competencies
  • Work Experience
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Affiliations, Projects, or Certifications

Keywords Shouldn’t be Absent or Insufficient
Creating Resumes to Pass ATS Helps

To pass through the ATS software screening, your resume must incorporate the target keywords and key phrases. A resume that has a high percentage of the relevant keywords will be reviewed by real humans.

To start with this, read the recruitment manager’s advertisement and note the keywords used to describe the qualifications and requirements. If these keywords and key phrases are embedded in the job description, chances are there that they will also be computed in the ATS.

General and specific keywords should not be ignored in your resume. For instance, under previous positions as a team leader, you can include ‘coordinate’ or ‘manage’ as specific keywords while you can consider phrases like ‘project coordinator’ or ‘project manager’ as general keywords. The software has been designed to contextualize resumes to the extent that it will only select for interview, those whose experience match the computerized positions. Therefore it is highly essential that you incorporate job-specific keywords by reading a post and tailoring your resume to that post. This is the only way you can stand a better chance for selection.

The Inclusion of Company Jargons in Resumes

Some experts have supported the inclusion of company jargons and acronyms in the body of resumes. Do you think a hiring manager will compute these jargons as keywords inside an ATS? Never! Except for universally known ones like – “TV”, the state you live in and degree titles. You should not feature uncommon abbreviations or acronyms in your resume. Instead, write them out completely.

Still need help with writing your resume? Call Hired Resume Services at 612-400-5563 for a free consultation. Our professional resume writing services certify that resumes are written to pass the Applicant Tracking System. We service every state in the country including, Minnesota, Arizona, Virginia, New York, Illinois, Utah, Ohio and Georgia

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