How to get your Resume found by an ATS

get resume found by ATS

This article focuses on improving your resume, so it gets found by an ATS, and to get better results with matching software. I wrote two introducing paragraphs; feel free to skip them to go to the best parts.

When you write your resume, you want to stand out of the crowd, add your personal touch, and blow people’s minds! But you might not get the chance if no one gets to see it. So these days, it is crucial to ATS-proof your CV. Still, you want to reach recruiters, but for that, you need them to be able to find your resume through the search engine of an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

To help you get your dream job, I will share some crucial information about ATS search engines, vacancy keywords, and matching software. And, as icing on the cake, I will provide you with a fantastic tool to scan your CV. Polish it, make it perfect, and stand out of the crowd with your ATS-friendly resume!

Watch out for the ATS’s filters and Boolean Search!

Filters and Boolean Search. Love or hate them, but they exist to make recruiters’ lives easier. Recruiters work on many vacancies with many candidates. So yes, they need ways to filter out people who lack specific attributes. And recruiters are provided with these tools by recruitment software developers. 

The way it works is quite simple. It starts with a vacancy. A company that needs a new employee writes a vacancy and makes up some must-haves and nice-to-haves. So, for example, the must-haves are:

  • Experience: 4+ years
  • Job title: Project Manager
  • Location: London

The recruiter looks at the vacancy and starts working. She/he will search inside the ATS for candidates with those must-haves. I have found these pictures in product demonstrations from two types of ATS’s. It looks like this: 

resume found by an ATS

resume found by an ATS

And here, you can see how your profile might look inside an ATS’s search result. It seems like it is essential to have a good picture if you want the recruiter to sympathize with you! I found two types of search results from publicly available product demonstrations:

resume found by ATS

resume found by ATS

And if there are still too many candidates in this list, recruiters can add extra filters like degrees, studies, courses, and personal qualities. Make sure that you have written down all your unique attributes in your CV, so read the next part about recruitment terminology carefully.

Use this Vocabulary to get your Resume Found by an ATS

If you want recruiters to find your CV in a clunky ol’ ATS or even the newer ones, you need to use the same vocabulary as recruiters do! If you are looking for a particular job, take a peek at your favorite vacancies, and copy the keywords.

Because for sure, recruiters use them to search for you!

Let’s imagine you are looking for your dream job as a Recruitment Consultant. In that case, you definitely should incorporate words that describe your experiences and the job. Look at the following terms in vacancies for Recruitment Consultants (Indeed, 2020): 

Recruitment Consultantentrepreneurial, account management, sales, resilience, dynamic, positive personality; fun; fluent in English; self-starter; communication skills; Immunity to frustration and disappointment; headhunt; sourcing skills; introducing candidates; proactive; negotiation skills; cold & warm calling; business development; interviewing skills; innovative.

And you can’t just throw these words into your CV, right. You need to figure out if you can incorporate these keywords after taking a close look at yourself. Those words you can apply in your resume, and try to find as many as possible. Because for sure, recruiters use words that are available in their brains. If recruiters work on vacancies, they write and/or read the vacancies, use those words, and type them into the ATS’s search engine, or filter on these words.

DANGER: don’t lose yourself in crafting a buzzword-filled CV. Although it helps your resume to get found by an ATS, make sure recruiters like it too!

Extra Keywords to get your Resume found by an ATS

For free: some extra inspiration for things you need to write down in your CV.

  • Geographical: If you want your job to be close, write down your home address. Or try something naughty. If I’d be willing to move for a job, and the vacancy says the job is in London. I will have a problem. If I use my current home address (very far away from London), the filter will kill me. This is a 100% guarantee. So I would better use one in London. There is nothing wrong with cheating a little bit to achieve your dreams.
  • Drivers license: if you have one, but you leave it out because you don’t think it is relevant for the job. Just be careful: when recruiters encounter a massive list of candidates, they might even use this filter.
  • Contact details: I have seen filters that exclude resumes without contact details, and I don’t understand why candidates would leave this out. You want recruiters to be able to contact you, right? Just add everything: phone number, e-mail address, Skype id, etc.

Get your Resume Found by Matching Software

Then there is matching software. Some types are more sophisticated than others. You can roughly boil the software’s capabilities down to this; it looks at how many keywords in your CV match with the keywords in the vacancy. So, play it safe and see if you can use the same keywords from the job description to describe your qualities. In this case, even if the matching software is not too sophisticated, it can match your CV properly!

I have tested our matching software with two different resumes. One was very short and to the point and it did not get me the results I wanted; 34 jobs in telesales. Well, that’s not my passion. But the other CV worked out pretty well. In this CV, I wrote down in detail all my experiences and (soft)skills, with keywords I have seen in my favorite vacancies. It worked! STAA matched my resume with jobs in online-marketing, SEO-marketing, content marketing, and copy-writing. Yes!

resume matching software

resume matching software

Scan your resume before sending

Before you start applying, please make sure your CV is perfect. For this purpose, I’ve found an excellent tool for you. This tool from Jobscan scans your CV and shows what you need to rewrite.

Or let us help you find your dream job!

How to Find a Job You Love!


Now you see the importance of adjusting your CV correctly. I have provided you with knowledge and a tool to make sure your CV gets found by recruiters using search engines inside Applicant Tracking Systems. And how to get better results with matching software. Rewrite your CV and get ready for your dream job!

If you are interested in some more tips, we’ve got another helpful article to write the perfect resume!

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