Many companies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to filter your resume before it reaches a human. Making sure your resume is ATS friendly improves your chances of getting hired – and it's simpler than you think.
What is an Application Tracking System (ATS)?
ATS software scans resumes and organizes applicants, so that employers can easily sort and filter them. It's not a faceless AI that judges you, or a robot that can be tricked. It's more like a glorified spreadsheet.
ATS software reads the CV and extracts contact information, job history, education, and keywords. This information is organized into a single table so that humans can easily filter and sort by this criteria.
Myths about ATS
75% of all resumes are auto-rejected by ATS – humans don't look at them!
The truth is, very few companies use ATS to auto-reject candidates. Humans still choose candidates, but they use ATS software to help organize and prioritize candidates.
ATS can't read two-column resumes, and they must be in Word format.
Modern ATS software can read two-column layouts, PDF, and Word files. They don't get tripped up by bullet-points or hyperlinks. We know this because we've tested our resumes against leading ATS software like Lever. The important thing isn't the format of your resume, it's the keywords and experience employers are looking for.
How to write an ATS friendly resume
The same qualities that make a resume attractive to employers, also make your resume ATS friendly:
- Make sure you list skills and keywords employers are looking for. Think about their "yes" / "no" requirements. For example, chef jobs might need "food safety certified", or driving-related jobs might need "Valid Driver's License".
- Use commonly accepted job titles and standard date formats like "January 2018 – June 2020". This is so ATS software can easily understand your work history.
- Upload your resume in text-based PDF format. If you can select/highlight the text in the PDF, it's texted-based and you're good to go.
Don't stress about ATS
What matters is crafting a resume that includes the skills, experience, and keywords employers are looking for. If you focus on making the content of your resume relevant to employers, your resume will also be ATS friendly.