4 Steps to Cracking the ATS Systems


The first step to getting into a new role is getting someone in your desired company to read your resume. Unfortunately, most candidates are removed from consideration by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This automatic system will scan your resume and either file or all together delete it if it does not fit the role criteria. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting your name in front of an actual human.


  1. Spell check

This point cannot be stressed enough. You will have heard hundreds of times that spelling is everything and now with ATS systems in place it is more imperative than ever. If your writing resumes late at night, save a draft and check it in the morning or have someone else check it for spelling and grammar errors.


  1. Utilise key words

When the ATS scans your document, it is also searching for a list of keywords considered relevant to the role by the HR department. Finding what keywords to put in your resume is a straightforward process. You can google “insert role resume keywords” and then pick through a list and include the terms which apply to your unique experience. Another method is to carefully read the job ad and selection criteria and pick your keywords from that list.

Just remember that if your resume does get through the ATS system it will be read by a human. Adding the words sales, profits and KPI’s repeatedly to a sales resume for example may trick the system but then look awful to a person reading it, so ensure your keywords fit the flow of your resume.


  1. Utilise key headings

While it may seem like a given to include certain headings ensure these are clear and the widespread use headings.

Do include headings such as Qualifications, Experience, References and Education.

Do NOT use headings such as hobbies, other interest, why you should hire me etc.

Putting in fancy headings or omitting an important one such as references is likely to get your resume rejected.


  1. Use simple formatting

Have you ever downloaded an old-style word document full of graphs or images on a newer or third-party software and suddenly it won’t load correctly or the formatting goes out the window?

An ATS system will do the exact same. Do not ever use an image as a resume, instead use a simple modern word format or PDF. There is no reason to have pictures, fancy backgrounds or graphs in your resumes, apart from adding clutter it will also increase the chances of the ATS misreading your resume and then deleting it.


While the ATS systems may seem scary they are a necessity in the modern workforce to ensure quality of hiring for a company as well as reducing man power cost considering the average Seek or Indeed advert can easily exceed 1000 applications.

If in doubt then send us a message about having your resume professionally done so you can rest easy knowing that the ATS systems will present no barrier to you.



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