An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is the software that recruiters use to scan resumes. ATS scans for important keywords and rates resumes based on relevancy. HR managers read only top resumes and poorly performed resumes get rejected without even a glimpse of a human eye. That's why you always need to target a resume for a specific job.
Before writing a resume understand that you won't get any attention if your resume will be too general. The more your resume is targeted for a particular job ad, the higher ATS ranks you and more attention you get.
To optimize your resume for ATS, you need to format it in such a way that the system can extract content correctly. The checklist for making your resume format more ATS-friendly:
- Your resume title has to be the same as it is in a job description.
- Do not use unique resume headings. Use only common headings like Contact Information, Experience, Education and Skills.
- Do not use graphics in your text content. This could break the scanning process.
- Do not use special characters.
- Avoid special, non-standard fonts.
- Finally, use keywords from a job ad description.
Don't overload your resume with unimportant elements only to make a good first impression. It won't get past ATS screening. Keep it focused and clean.