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Scannable Resumes: Beating The ATS 


If you are applying for work in organisations that receive hundreds of resumes for each job opening, there are good chances that they are using an applicant tracking system (ATS). ATS is an online software application that accepts and stores information job candidates input. The system is designed to search resumes the same way a recruiter or hiring manager would. Once collected, the data provided by candidates can be easily reviewed by recruiters and others involved in the hiring process. Therefore, if you apply in such a company that uses an ATS, you should use a scannable resume format. 

Scannable format

According to some experts, scannable resumes are chronological, functional, or combination resumes that increase the chances of your resume being electronically selected. They might or might not include a keyword list near the beginning or end of the resume. Keywords are nouns that are not the same but mean the same thing, as words used in other parts of the resume. 

For example, if you want to be a salesperson, your keyword list should include “salesperson” (if the word is not already used in a job objective statement or former job title). You can also use synonyms, such as sales associate, sales representative, and marketer. Then, your resume will pop up whenever employers search for resumes containing any of those words. 

See also: Interview Hack: 5 Assuring Answers for 5 Frequently Asked Questions 

Illustration of scannable resume 



















Your Name

Street Address or Box Number 

Community, Province, Postal Code 

Email address 

(Area code) Telephone number(s)

Describe the type of work you are seeking and your most relevant qualification (this section is optional) 

Groups your skill under two or three skill titles and concisely describes how you have demonstrated each type of skill and where. Use Expressive words and nouns that employers will probably use to scan and select appropriate resumes. 

Position title, name of employer, address, and dates of employment. List your name of the employer first if it is more impressive than your position title. 

List your high school or post-secondary school education, the names and location of the institutions and dates you attended and graduated. You should also highlight diploma licenses and any awards or recognitions to stand out. This can also apply for work history description. 

This section would give more information that gives the reader an idea of your personal strengths and involvements. 

If you are applying for work related to physical requirements, include information like “excellent health” under title “personal” or “personal data”. This will help you stand out. 

Most essential part of a scannable resume is you should include keywords to pass the ATS. Thus, list alternate names and abbreviations for position titles, education programs, tools, skills and other key information that employers might scan for and you have not used elsewhere in your resume. Use punctuation to separate words and phrases. 

Additional tips 

If you are applying for some different types of work, you should rewrite your scannable resume and probably might need one version of your resume. For example, for work requiring specific credentials, the EDUCATION section should be near the beginning of your resume. For other types of work, it might be to your advantage to highlight other qualifications by putting them first. 

Every time you apply for work, analyse the job requirements before you submit a resume. If necessary, reorganise or rewrite your resume in a way that clearly shows you can satisfy job requirements. Also remember, make the resume concise in one or two pages where a recruiter can scan them quickly under 10 seconds. Good luck!!

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