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If you're submitting your resume through a job board or company website, there's a good chance your resume is being run through the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), the software many of today's employers use to read and rank resumes that come in.


The higher the ranking, the greater the chance your resume will be seen by a pair of human eyes. Those that don't get a high rank fall into a black hole. So the question is, “How can I ensure my resume gets past the applicant tracking system?"

Here are some basic tips.

1. Make Sure The ATS Can Read Your Resume

Man formats his resume to get it past the ATS

Have your resume saved in the right format. Not every ATS can read documents in .doc or .docx format. So, to be on the safe side, always submit your resume as a PDF. Also, in the event your resume does get past the ATS, you want to make sure the formatting stays the same. The best way to do that is by utilizing the PDF option.

Another thing to remember is to not use tables and text boxes. The ATS can't read them, so they will only hurt your chances of moving on in the hiring process.

2. Help The ATS Identify Sections And Information

Woman writes and formats her resume to get it past the ATS

The ATS looks for keywords to help identify sections of the resume, so make sure each section of your resume is clearly labeled and uses consistent formatting.

Those sections you should focus on include your headline, your experience summary, your work history, your education, and any additional experience.

3. List The Most Appropriate Keywords

​The exact list of keywords an employer enters to the ATS varies, but you can figure out appropriate keywords by looking at the job description. You will notice certain keywords come up over and over again. There may also be certain terminology or lingo that define the work of your profession. Utilize those keywords in context on your resume.

If you're going to use the "/" between keywords, add a space before and after it. For example, the ATS may not see Web Design/Graphic Design as keyword matches, but it will when it reads Web Design / Graphic Design.


In this digital world, the Applicant Tracking Systems have made job seeking more difficult, so you need to make sure your resume gets through this important filter. We hope these three tips will help you write and format your resume to get it past the ATS.


Need more help writing your resume? Download our FREE resume mistakes guide now!


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This post was originally published at an earlier date.


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