ATS (applicant tracking systems) are software programs that companies use to manage job applications. When you apply for a job, your resume often gets scanned by an ATS before a human sees it. So how can you optimize your resume to get past this automated screening?

An ATS works by scanning resumes for relevant keywords and keyphrases, scoring candidates based on the presence of those words. It is looking for indications that your background and experience match what the employer is seeking.

To get your resume through an ATS, carefully study the job description and identify key requirements. Look for important skills, software, certifications, job duties, and other keywords. Then work those same words into your own resume, customizing it to that role. can help you identify the right terms to include.

In addition to keywords, an ATS may scan for dates, names of schools, former employers, and other specific details. Avoid using general descriptions or creative formatting on your resume, as the ATS may not be able to parse the information correctly. Keep your resume clean and simple.

It’s important not to go overboard on keyword stuffing though. Naturally incorporate relevant terms in your resume by quantifying your accomplishments with numbers and facts. Having optimize your resume for each ATS can prevent your resume from getting flagged.

An ATS also screens resumes for gaps in employment, job hopping, and overqualification. Explain any employment gaps clearly and concisely. Only include your most recent, relevant job experiences rather than your full work history.

While you want your resume tailored to each role, it still needs to be truthful. The goal is highlighting your genuine qualifications, not gaming the system. helps you put your best resume forward to both humans and robots reviewing it.