Writing an ATS-friendly resume

Writing an ATS-friendly resume

Writing an ATS-friendly resume is very important in today’s competitive job market. The Applicants Tracking System (ATS), has become very important for many employers due to advancements in technology and the increase in the number of job applicants for an open position. In addition, ATS makes it easier for employers to find out well-qualified candidates which saves time. This article therefore explains what an ATS is and how to write an ATS-friendly resume for a job application.

What is ATS

ATS is software that is used by an employer to group applicants into different categories based on the marks they obtain when the software scans their resume. The ATS groups the applicants based on certain factors like education, experience, skills, achievements, etc. After the ATS has finished grouping the applicants, those who don’t perform well fail, while those who pass this stage continue to the next phase of the job application process.  

Factors the ATS consider

The ATS considers some of the following aspects of an applicant’s resume.

i. Qualifications and Skills

All ATS software considers the qualifications of each job applicant. This includes education (degree), and certifications. In addition, the software will look at relevant skills an applicant possesses which will be useful in the job. Therefore, each applicant must meet the minimum requirements of qualifications and skills.  

ii. Relevant Key words or phrases

The ATS is designed to compare and analyze how the resume matches relevant keywords or variations of such as described in the job description. Also, the ATS searches certain key phrases in your resume.

iii. Achievements

The ATS scans for achievements from the applicant’s previous job. It looks out for this to let the employer know what you are capable of doing and how you can contribute to the company.

iv. Formatting Style

The ATS looks out for how well each applicant has formatted their resume. Applicants with poorly formatted resumes are graded differently from those with well-formatted resumes.

Writing an ATS-friendly resume

Now that we understand the concept of ATS it is very important to bear in mind when writing a resume. Therefore, let’s consider how to write an ATS-friendly resume.

i. Include Required Qualifications

Read the job description very well and make sure you include at least the minimum requirements in your resume, this includes education and skills. Example a BSc degree in Sales and marketing with 3 years’ experience in the food production industry. With the example above the applicant can put this information in the executive summary of his/her resume.

ii. Use relevant keywords and Key phrases

In addition to including required qualifications, it is very essential to use relevant keywords from the job description. Examples of these include coordinating, training, critical thinking, analysis, etc. Therefore, always ensure you use many keywords and phrases and their variations from the job description that describe your skills and experiences.

iii. Highlight Achievements

Highlight achievements in your resume. Show clearly your contributions in previous roles, and use quantifiable and measurable results. For example, you can write, I reduced production cost by $2000 during my time with X company as Production Manager. Another example is, I increased sales target by 15% in my position as a sales manager with Y Company Limited.

iv. Good formatting

Most people use poorly formatted resumes during job applications. To make your resume ATS-friendly, use a professional template and be consistent with the font style and type. Always use standard font type (Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri). Moreover, avoid using too many colorful templates, since most ATS are designed to figure out visually unappealing resumes.


This article has discussed what ATS-friendly is and emphasized the importance of that in the job application process. It will be beneficial if you include them when drafting your resume for a job application. Use this and seek advice from more experienced people who can help you develop a good resume. Good luck in your pursuit of new job positions.

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