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The 2 Vital Resume Hacks That Will Increase Your ATS Score
The 2 Vital Resume Hacks That Will Increase Your ATS Score

January 13, 2019 | Michael Howard

Tag: Artificial Intelligence6

By now you probably know all about applicant tracking system (ATS). If you don’t, read my recent article How you will use Artificial Intelligence in 2019 To Get The Job You Want where I give a brief description of what they are and how they work. For the purpose of this article, an ATS system is a computer software application that employers use to score your resume against job requirements.

Once you are aware of the existence of ATS’s and how they effect your ability to get the job you want, it’s just a matter of adjusting your resume accordingly. The process of tailoring your resume to highlight the matches between it and the job requirements is known as creating a targeted resume. Creating a targeted resume is a hack in itself, but I am not counting this as one of the hacks here today. Instead, I wanted to share the two vital technology-based hacks that will bump your score and give you the edge you need.

Hack 1: Parse-friendly Formatting

The first step an ATS program takes to score your resume is to parse – or dissect – it into relevant categories such as skills, education and experience. In order to do this, the software relies on the format of your resume to understand where this information is located. Among the varying methods different ATS programs use to identify these categories, the most common are carriage returns, bolded text and use of all caps.

In order to be parse-friendly, submit your resume as a Word file. Word files are converted to XML styled documents which tag elements such as carriage returns and bolded text. This gives the ATS program the underlying metadata needed to completely understand these elements of your resume. Avoid using tables. Not all ATS systems see tables the same.

If you’re looking for ATS friendly resume formats, I recommend Hloom as a good source of pre-made templates.

Hack 2: Flip the Script on ATS

Now that you have a parse-friendly resume, it’s time to get down to business. The old-school process of creating a targeted resume was to line-by-line compare your resume to the job advertisement. Where appropriate, you would either craft a new phrase or alter an existing phrase on your resume that matched a portion of the job advertisement. Possibly, you would cut-and-paste individual skills you had forgotten. This old-school process is tedious and time consuming.

Those days are over.

When ATS systems emerged, they were used by employers to assist them in identifying the top candidates who had applied for a given job. These systems would parse the resume and simply match words and phrases. As technology advanced, algorithms were created to machine learn the semantics, or meaning of words. Soon, these ATS systems had created libraries of semantic relevance, or words and phrases that are different, but mean the same thing. A simple example is “RN” and “Registered Nurse.” Or “software programming” and “coding.”

Now this technology is available to you. In fact, the very same technology.

At, you need only upload your resume and paste the job advertisement. We flip the script on ATS systems by using the same artificial intelligence ATS systems use to perform the same scoring they do.

But that’s not all.

We go one step further and extract and merge the keywords and phrases for you with a click of a button. You choose which ones are appropriate and accurate. The with a click, they are merged directly into your resume.

Using to flip the script on ATS algorithms, combined with the correct resume formatting will result in the bump in score you need to get the job you want.