How to Optimize Your Resume for Applicant Tracking System

You find a job online which suits your skill sets, submit your resume and cover letter, fill out dozens of questions and after an hour, you hit enter. That’s it! You never hear from the company. Many job seekers find this extremely frustrating and wonder why they are never contacted by a company after submitting their flawless resume.

Well, the chances are that your resume was never even looked at by a human within the company. In today’s job search portals, resumes get automatically parsed and saved into a database of the portal by software called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This automated system allows the companies to collect, sort, and contact candidates in an efficient manner.

So before you submit your resume online, keep these tricks in mind to optimize your resume for an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and increase your chances for getting a call.


No Spelling Mistakes:  It doesn’t matter whether your resume is being looked at by a machine or a human, spelling mistakes make you look like a poor candidate. While, a hiring manager may empathize with a negligible spelling mistake, an ATS will never allow it.  Application Tracking Systems rank the job seekers by the number of keywords on their resume matching the job description or a search query run by the recruiter. Hence, if you misspell even just one word on your resume, it can prevent your resume from appearing in the search results. Thoroughly check and then submit your resume.

Keep it Simple: Unnecessarily decorating your resume reduces your chances of getting through the ATS. Application Tracking Systems get easily confused by fancy characters, pictures, fonts etc. Make sure your resume is ATS-friendly in simple fonts, sized eleven or twelve and saved into .pdf or .docx format.

Match the Keywords: ATSes rely heavily upon screening the content of resumes to identify the best matched applicants. To ensure your resume passes through the ATS, match the keywords on your resume as in the job description. This leads to your resume passing through the ATS when a recruiter runs a keyword search to quickly sift through the candidates in their database.

Tailor you Application for Each Job: Make sure each time you submit your application for a position, modify it to the exact job you are applying for. Every job description is likely to be worded slightly differently, requiring you to re-write parts of your resume to match the wording of the job description. Optimizing your resume for one job and then shooting out the same for other positions might not yield the desired results.