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Applicant tracking systems  (ATS) disqualify about 75% of applications INSTANTLY after they’re submitted. What’s an ATS? It’s software that many employers use to accelerate the hiring process by organizing, screening, and filtering a large number of candidates, to finish with a shortlist. This is how you beat an ATS:

1- Highlight OR privatize your social media accounts

Some ATS can locate your social media accounts if they’re public. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to showcase or hide it from your potential employers.

2- Customize the file name and metadata

Be sure to include your full name in the file name and add relevant keywords to the resume metadata.

3- Spell out the acronym AND keep it too

ATS doesn’t recognise many acronyms, this is why it’s important to use both versions of the text to ensure an ATS identifies your content.

Submit your files in MS Word format

Upload your file in multiple formats – if you have only one option, submit the .doc version A .pdf version is more likely than .doc and .txt versions to not be read by an ATS. If you’re worried the formatting won’t transfer, convert your .doc into .txt to see how it looks before submission.

Pick Arial over Times New Roman

Some ATS detect sans serif typefaces like Arial better than serif typefaces like Times New Roman.

Include your FULL mailing address

Some ATS require your full mailing address to extract and populate local candidates.

Consider deleting your previous applications

Consider removing previous applications if you’ve applied to another position at this company. Some ATS will compile the contents you submitted in your previous applications into your next application.

Leave your header and footer blank

The content you place in your header and footer may not be recognized by an ATS so place your contact information along your name in the body of the page.

Keep your terminology traditional

An ATS will detect subheadings like ‘Skills’ and ‘Work Experience’ but not ‘My Goods’ or ‘Old Hustles.’

Don’t include images, diagrams, logos, tables, fancy bullet symbols, or a picture of yourself

A graphic or some fancy bullet symbols could significantly alter the formatting of your submission.

Swap out the soft skills career objective for a hard skills summary

Attract the ATS by inserting your best hard skills on the first third on the first page – these should include functions, programs, fields, languages, and any other hard skills listed in your other headings.

Mirror the job description (reasonably)

Ensure your submission mirrors the grammar, punctuation, and language style of the job description, and contains ‘enough’ keywords found in the posting – if effective, a human will see your application so keep your keyword frequency reasonable and leave out those fluffy, cliché buzzwords.


A tip, use Grammarly for proofreading.

13- Pick ‘Upload’ over ‘Copy and Paste’

Uploading will decrease the likelihood of your submission losing its formatting.

Make sure your resume is up-to-date according to this Resume Checklist