Recruiters often use tools to help them find qualified candidates for open roles. Applicant tracking systems, or ATS, are very popular among human resources and recruiters.
In this article, we'll provide some career advice as tips and tricks to help you optimize your resume for applicant tracking systems. First, we'll explain what ATS is so you are more familiar with the language used.
Applicant tracking systems are used by all types of companies to speed up and organize their hiring process. Hiring managers don't just type in job titles when they search for candidates. Most recruiters and hiring managers use some form of ATS software to locate a passable ATS resume.
Don't be alarmed by the term, most job sites include ATS and it's used behind the scenes. It's really a tool that saves employers time and money, manages high volumes of job applications, and allows recruiters to search key terms on candidates' resumes.
Companies use ATS systems to screen resumes at a faster pace and find more qualified applicants. If you are worried about getting your resume past the applicant tracking system, don't be. Let's dive into how job seekers can optimize their resume to show up on more resume screening tools and eventually land that dream job.
There are many online tools to help check if you have an ATS friendly resume. For job seekers, we suggest using Teal's free Resume Builder and all the built-in tools it has to offer. You can start a new resume or import your resume or LinkedIn profile. Instead of creating a separate word document for each resume, Teal's Resume Builder allows you to duplicate resume templates and tailor them to each job description. Numerous additional features are available to optimize your resume for ATS.
Using Teal's software, you can build an exhaustive list detailing your work experience, and it will all be saved in your Work History for you to pick and choose from as needed.
As a job seeker, the text of your entire resume really matters. To get noticed by the company's ATS, you want to make sure you have the important keywords throughout your resume. Applicant tracking systems narrow applicants down by searching for specific keywords that align with the job descriptions.
When using these tools, the hiring manager or recruiter decides which keywords to search for. These usually include hard skills, soft skills, experience, qualifications, and the qualities that are most relevant to the job listing.
A good way to check if your resume will get noticed by an ATS is to compare your resume keywords and content with a specific job description. You want the skills and qualifications on your resume to match those specified on the job description so that your resume is selected. If you are applying to an entry-level role, pay attention to degrees or school requirements in a job description.
Use Teal’s Resume Builder to quickly compare the skills and keywords in the job posting to those in your resume. Make sure to add any relevant experience to your customized resume and to your application answers to create an ATS friendly resume.
The applicant tracking system uses smart technology. This means if you just scattered keywords throughout your resume in random places or used keyword stuffing, they'd know what you are trying to do.
Avoid reworking the job description as bullet points in your resume. Rather, find ways to weave the relevant keywords into resume sections such as your professional summary, accomplishments, and work experience as they relate to the job position.
Use Teal's free Professional Summary Builder Tool to help craft an impressive professional summary.
Once you have your professional summary, don’t forget to update the rest of your resume with your skills, latest experience, and work achievements! The job of your resume is to get you in the door. Optimizing it will help you land interviews for the next opportunities that excite you. Teal’s free Resume Builder can help you keep your Work History up to date and help you write metric-driven achievements using our Achievement Assistant tool.
Related: Teal has hundreds of resume examples to help you optimize for the ATS.
The applicant tracking system often checks for key skills. These can be hard skills, like being proficient in graphic design or search engine optimization, or soft skills/transferable skills, such as great communication. Based on the job title and job description, you should have a good understanding of what skills the company is looking for before submitting a job application.
Use Teal’s Skills Database in the free Skills Workbook to identify your current skills and potential skills that you want to acquire. Once you've identified those, enter them into Teal’s Skills Identifier.
Then, compare your list of skills and see which ones match in the job description. By focusing your resume on these, you'll have a better chance of passing ATS.
Your resume skills section is where you list your knowledge or qualities that present you as a relevant fit for the job. That will undoubtedly include technical qualifications, but you can round those out by using bullet points of some soft skills as well. Need help? Teal's Resume Builder includes a skills section and will walk you through it all.
You'll want to keep your resume format simple. Avoid using data graphs, text boxes, or images. Headers and footers can also get missed in the applicant tracking system. To ensure the software can read your resume, use a common font.
Here are a few of the best options for font: Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Garamond, Georgia, or Cambria. You can still dress up your standard resume with bold, italics, underlines, and colors though. The ATS can read all of these.
What if you could drag and drop your work experience into a ready-made resume template? Think how much time designing and formatting your resume you'd save. Luckily, this scenario becomes a reality with Teal's Resume Builder.
You want your resume to be neat and clean. Recruiters and ATS software both scan resumes, so make sure yours is easy to digest. The good news is if a person can easily read it, so can the ATS.
It's also a good idea to have your cover letter and Linkedin profile match your resume. That way, if a potential employer looks for you on the site, all of your information matches.
A great way to check your LinkedIn profile is to download Teal’s Free Chrome Extension which includes an automated LinkedIn Review. Once you install the extension, just go to your profile page and click on the Teal logo. You’ll see a list of recommendations on how best to optimize your profile and can make updates as needed.
Before you get started on your job search, it's important to understand how ATS works. With nearly all of the Fortune 500 companies using tools like this to organize job applications and ensure none fall through the cracks, it will be much harder to find a job without being compliant. Employers are getting more applications than in the old days, and are doing whatever they can to speed up the hiring process.
Jobs are becoming more competitive and you certainly won't be the only job candidate applying for a job opening. When creating your resume, pay attention to the text of the job description.
You may need to have a few versions of your resume if applying to multiple roles. Visit the company website and even write down a few notes to personalize your application for each job.
Within Teal’s Job Tracker is a super helpful “Notes” tool to track and update your interview questions and answers for each saved job. It pulls up next to the job description, making it easy to pull all the necessary and relevant keywords. Make any edits and additions you need, and your changes will be saved automatically.
Everyone looking for a new position is in the same boat and wants to be the most qualified applicants as much as you do. Job applicants who ignore career advice and what employers are interested in will have a more difficult time landing a specific job they want.
Don't forget that keywords are extremely important when you submit an online resume. Focus on the job description, job title, and skills. This will help you create a resume that impresses the hiring manager and passes through the ATS with ease.
Always check the job listing, as well, to know whether to submit a word document or PDF files of your ATS resume.
While you want your document to be ATS-friendly, you'll also want it to be unique. If you take a couple of hours to put your resume together with that in mind, you will be getting your next interview in no time.