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hiring managers and applicant tracking systems (ATS) look for.
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Companies often receive hundreds of resumes for
every job posting they put out. They and their hiring managers
don't have the time to go through each resume individually, so they
use software, often called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), to filter
through all the resumes they receive.
You need to make sure your resume is read correctly by these ATS and resume
screening software. If it is not, your resume could get
instantly rejected by these systems and never make its way to
a recruiter or hiring manager.
Our resume scanner evaluates whether your resume will be read correctly by ATS, i.e. if it is ATS compliant.
In addition, it also gives you detailed feedback on key criteria recruiters
and hiring managers look for, for free.
Here are some guidelines you should follow to ensure your resume gets correctly scanned by all applicant tracking systems.
Use standard section titles: Label your work experience and education sections with conventional section titles. For example, use "Professional Experience" instead of "My career in a nutshell".
Use standard fonts: Some newer fonts convert letters to special characters which often get scanned incorrectly by ATS. Where possible, stick to a standard font (Garamond, Arial, Calibri) where possible.
Single-column layouts: Modern ATS are better at scanning multi-column layout but there are several ATS that fail at reading multi-column resumes in the way you'd expect it to.
No tables: Tables rarely get parsed correctly. Use tabs and right/left aligns to structure your resume instead.
No scanned documents, pictures or diagrams: Your resume's text must be highlightable and readable. Avoid using images or diagrams in your resume - this includes pie charts and graphs too!
Find out if your resume passes the ATS resume test
Tip: Score My Resume was built with all applicant tracking systems in mind and acts as a powerful ATS resume test. If it is scanned correctly by our platform,
you can be confident it will also be processed correctly by all ATS.
An example of an ATS friendly resume template that is readable by ATS and resume scanners
Here are the guidelines we outlined above in practice.
Notice the clean single-column design and how fancy formatting like tables, diagrams and graphs have been
stripped out. ATS resume scanners either ignore these or read them incorrectly. You want to make sure
you stick to text and a standard font with minimal use of special characters.
Similarly, notice how this resume also uses standard section titles, such as "Experience" and
"Education". Resume scanners specifically look out for these core sections and you want to make sure
they're easy to find.
Bonus tip: Use reverse chronological order for your dates. Many applicant tracking systems try to find your
most recent work experience and assumes your resume is in reverse chronological order (i.e. most recent first).
If you're reading until this point, you've understood how to make your resume readable and scanned correctly
by applicant tracking systems, or ATS. This is a great start - well done!
However, you're not done yet. You need to now make sure these resume scanners actually
rank your resume highly. Let's back up for a bit.
If you recall at the start of this page, we discussed that companies use ATS to filter
down the number of applicants they receive. They filter resumes by looking for keywords that match the job description.
Fortunately for you, we have another tool, a resume keyword scanner, that helps you identify
the right keywords to include on your resume. This tool helps you test your resume against a specific job description,
enabling you to optimize for that posting (and of course, dramatically increase your success rate).
We'll scan your resume in 30 seconds and evaluate it against a range of criteria that recruiters
and hiring managers consider important.
Our resume test goes even deeper than an ATS scan, and gives you feedback on many
other areas of your resume such as impact, soft skills and brevity. This enables you to identify gaps on your resume so you can fix them.
You get several free uploads to our resume scanner.
If you have different versions of your resumes (and you should, especially if you are applying to
different industries!), you can test each of your resumes through our resume scanner.
This allows you to evaluate all versions of your resume for not only ATS friendliness,
but also other key criteria (like impact, hard skills and core competencies), to make sure you get as many interviews as possible.
To get started, upload your resume in PDF. If you're wondering if PDFs can be read by ATS, the answer
is yes! Unless specified, always use PDF. All ATS can read them perfectly as long as you stick to the guidelines
we've outlined above - i.e. ensure your resume is not a scan and uses standard formatting.
As of October 2021, our free resume scanner has supported
over a million job seekers globally. It's an effective platform to determine:
Whether you have a scannable resume: Find out if your resume will be scanned correctly by an applicant tracking system. Are your achievements read correctly? Find out instantly.
Your ATS readability: Check that your work experience and skills are identified correctly. Note that if your work experience isn't detected correctly, an ATS may auto-flag you as unemployed — you want to avoid this since you might automatically get rejected.
How well your resume matches the job description: You will be given a resume score, which will help you understand if your resume covers all the right keywords and recruiter checks.