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How to Optimize Your Resume for an ATS

By | Rachel Parnes | Senior Marketing Manager at LinkedIn

As a job seeker, you want to create that perfect resume that will help you get noticed by recruiters. But before your resume is even seen by a human, it needs to get past the ATS, or applicant tracking system. 

For companies and recruiting agencies, the ATS is a way to efficiently manage and track candidates and make the hiring process more consistent in order to stay in compliance with labor laws. 

For job seekers, it’s a digital gatekeeper—one more step of the online application process you need to understand and master.  

“The more you understand what the applicant tracking system is looking for, the better equipped you’re going to be to structure your resume in a way that has you sail right on through that software and move forward in the process,” says Jenny Foss in her course Optimize Your Resume for Applicant Tracking Systems.

Here are four ways to optimize your resume with what the ATS looks for. 

4 elements of an ATS-friendly resume

Foss explains how an ATS works: after you submit an application online, the ATS parses the information on your resume into data fields and scans those fields to determine the best match for a given job. If the ATS determines you’re a strong match, you continue in the process and move on to human reviewers. 

To get a strong match score, focus on optimizing these four elements.

#1 Keywords 

Priority one is getting keywords right. Be sure to include the most prominent keywords from the job description front and center in your resume.

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