ATS Resume Keyword Optimization Tool (2023)

How to Keyword Optimize a Resume for Applicant Tracking Systems & Tailor It to Target Roles

Jobscan's ATS research study found that 98.8% of Fortune 500 companies use an applicant tracking system, or ATS, to manage their hiring processes.

As a result, keyword optimization is an important strategy to consider when updating your resume - especially if you are applying for jobs at large corporations that receive high number of applications.

If you have heard about the importance of keyword optimizing your resume for ATS but are not sure how to do so, this article will equip you with the tools you need.

In this article, we provide:

  • A free resume optimization tool that conducts a gap analysis on missing keywords you should consider incorporating into your document
  • An ATS optimization checklist that outlines simple, key factors to pay attention to when preparing your resume
  • An example of how to keyword optimize your resume to align it with the specific requirements of a job posting

      Resume Keyword Optimization Tool

      Use the Jobscan resume optimization tool below to assess whether your resume effectively incorporates target keywords recruiters search for when filtering applications using applicant tracking systems.

      Simply copy and paste your current resume and the job description for the role you are applying for into the boxes below.

      The tool will analyze your resume and provide a percentage match score that serves as a benchmark of whether your document is sufficiently optimized for a target role.

      If you are unfamiliar with how an ATS works, we encourage you to read this article, which explains how recruitersutilizethese systems in more detail.

      Once you receive your results, review 4 the key areas of feedback you should pay close attention to below. You don’t need to get caught up in achieving a perfect score!

      1. ATS Findings

      Check that your Education, Section Headings, and Date Formatting align with the requirements provided in the ATS Findings section of the report.

      While some of these checks do not affect your percentage match score, they ensure key information on your resume is properly formatted and will correctly import into the ATS.

      2. Recruiter Findings

      While keyword optimization is important, your resume ultimately needs to leave an impression on the recruiter or hiring manager who reads it.

      Because recruiters want to see specific examples of the value you added in each role, the Measurable Results section of the report can help you benchmark whether you are incorporating enough metrics into your resume.

      (Video) How to Pick the Best Keywords for Your Resume (5-Step Tutorial)

      You can also use our resume metrics tool to dive into this category in more detail and brainstorm additional ways to showcase the tangible impact you madeon an organization.

      We also recommend carefully reviewing the Words to Avoid section, which outlines overused terminology and resume clichés that make recruiters cringe.

      3. Hard Skills

      When recruiters screen applications using an ATS, they typically search for hard skills that are explicitly mentioned in the job description.

      If you find that your Hard Skills score is low and agree with the scan's outcome, review the example below to see how you can naturally incorporate additional keywords into your document.

      Keep in mind that while you should effectively optimize your resume for applicant tracking systems, your resume still needs to read naturally and be truthful.

      "Keyword stuffing" is very easy to detect when a recruiter reads your resume, and it may leave a negative impression.

      4. Soft Skills

      Although soft skills contribute to a higher percentage match when using Jobscan’s tool, we don't recommend listing soft skills on your resume.

      Soft skills such as the following are best communicated during the interview process. On your resume, they are best demonstrated via examples of how you applied them on the job:

      • Effective communicator
      • Strong teamplayer
      • Results-oriented executive
      • Excels in high-pressure situations
      • Proven ability to negotiate
      • Adaptable, driven, and motivated leader

      Without specific evidence to back them up, such phrases can come off as overused resume buzzwords that do little to differentiate you!

      ATS Optimization Checklist

      Follow the strategies on the checklist below to ensure your resume’s content gets imported into anapplicant tracking system correctly:

      • Keep your formatting simple (avoid any gimmicks)
      • Use conventional section titles
      • Align your content with the requirements on the job description

      ATS Resume Keyword Optimization Tool (1)

      If you are a senior executive, keyword optimization becomes a bit less relevant, as:

      • You will generally be competing against a smaller number of applicants
      • You may be working with a recruiter, who will ensure your resume gets into the right hands

      How to Tailor Your Resume to a Job (Example)

      One of the easiest ways to optimize your resume is to read the job description, identify relevant keywords, and naturally incorporate them into your document.

      (Video) Applicant Tracking System: How To Get Past It | Resume Keyword Optimization

      Let's look at a practical example to help you understand how to do so.

      Below, we'll analyze two documents:

      • A job description for a hotel development posting
      • A sample resume tailored to that posting

      Step 1: We started by highlighting the most important responsibilities of the role and the required skills that we would like to mention onthe resume.

      When reading the job description, focus on two key sections:

      • Key Responsibilities
      • Requirements

      More specifically, pay attention to hard skills and industry terminology.

      We evaluated a job description for a Head of Hotel Development position with Sonder and highlighted key terms that would be worth incorporating into the resume.

      ATS Resume Keyword Optimization Tool (2)

      ATS Resume Keyword Optimization Tool (3)

      We encourage you to follow a similar approach.

      To make the process easier, simply print out the job description on paper and grab a highlighter!

      Step 2: Weincorporated keywords related to those we identified in the job description.

      Now that we identified key terms, we added them to the resume.

      In doing so, we made sure to:

      • Incorporate a few keywords that were exact matches in a natural manner to avoid the perception of keyword stuffing
      • Include similar terminologythat wasn't explicitly provided in the job description
      • Avoid directly copying and pasting long phrases from the job description
      • Avoid discussing any experience that the candidate didn't have just for the sake of "optimizing" the resume

      We highlighted the key terms on the resume below.

      ATS Resume Keyword Optimization Tool (4)

      (Video) Got My Resume Through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) with a 95% Success Rate!

      In Summary

      In today's hiring environment, recruiters are increasingly overwhelmed with high application volumes, and applicant tracking systems help bring order to the chaos.

      By taking intentional steps to keyword optimize your resume, you'll help it pass initial scans and get into the hands of a recruiter.

      That said, be conscious not to over-optimize by focusing too much on keywords and not enough on human readability.

      Also, remember that the most effective ways of finding a job involve networking and human interaction.

      About Resume Pilots

      Resume Pilots is an award-winning executive resume writing firm and a proud member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. Our previous clients include CEOs and senior executives at the world's leading companies.

      As a professional services firm, we take your reputation seriously. We are committed to delivering writing excellence and superior service while operating with integrity and discretion. Recruitment firms we partner with also trust us to consistently deliver quality documents for their clients.

      Our writers have studied in the Ivy League and other top-tier universities and have strong writing backgrounds coupled with industry experience.

      Here's how we can help you:

      Resume, Cover Letter, and LinkedIn Writing Services: If you are looking for end-to-end support, hire one of our professional resume writers to rewrite your documents from the ground up.

      Executive Resume Template Downloads: If you plan to prepare your own resume, consider using one of our classic, ATS-friendly resume templates for Microsoft Word.

      To learn more about our services, book an introductory call with our founder here or email

      ATS Resume Keyword Optimization Tool (5)

      About the AuthorMatt Glodz

      Matt Glodz is the Founder and Managing Partner of Resume Pilots and a Certified Professional Resume Writer.

      After studying business communication at Cornell University, Matt worked within Fortune 500 companies, where he noted that qualified candidates were frequently denied interview opportunities due to poorly written documents.

      (Video) How To Beat The ATS Applicant Tracking Systems | PART 2 | Resume Keyword Optimization

      At Resume Pilots, Matt combines his business and writing background - which includes prior work for a Chicago Tribune publication - to craft resumes that give his clients the best chance of landing interviews. He works with clients ranging from CEOs to recent graduates and has been writing resumes for over 10 years.

      He has been quoted on numerous business and career-related topics in outlets including Business Insider, CNBC, Fortune, Glassdoor, The Ladders, and Thrive Global.

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      (Video) 3 Free Tools for Your Resume to Beat the ATS


      How do you check if your resume will pass ATS? ›

      How do I know if my resume is ATS friendly?
      1. Traditional, reverse-chronological format.
      2. Relevant keywords used throughout the resume.
      3. Simple formatting with clear headings.
      4. Degrees and abbreviations are spelled out.
      5. All experience relates to the same career target.
      3 Jan 2021

      How do you pass an automated resume screening? ›

      Follow these dos and don'ts to create an ATS-friendly resume that'll sail right through—and impress the hiring manager, too.
      1. Do Apply Only to Roles You're Qualified For. ...
      2. Don't Apply to Tons of Jobs at the Same Company. ...
      3. Do Include the Right Keywords. ...
      4. Do Put Your Keywords in Context. ...
      5. Don't Try to Trick the ATS.
      24 Jan 2022

      What is a good ATS match score? ›

      Match Rate Percentage

      Jobscan recommends scoring an 80% match or higher before applying. This increases your chances of beating the filters inside applicant tracking systems, otherwise known as ATS.

      How do you score high on ATS resume? ›

      Avoid headers, footers, tables, templates, borders, lines, symbols (bullet points are fine), shading, fancy fonts, font colors other than black, tables, columns and boxes. Write out months and years so it's readable by ATS systems. Use/submit MS Word documents (not PDF's) since all ATS systems can scan/read them.

      Do recruiters really use ATS? ›

      An applicant tracking system (ATS) helps companies organize and track candidates for hiring and recruitment purposes. These systems allow businesses to collect information, organize prospects based on experience and skill set, and filter applicants. More than 90% of Fortune 500 Companies are currently using an ATS.

      Is 2 page resume OK for ATS? ›

      The recruitment ATS will appreciate a two-page resume. One thing to consider is that your resume will not only be read by humans. If the job description is particularly demanding in terms of skills and experience, a benefit of a two-page resume will be that the ATS software is likely to pick up on more keywords.

      Does ATS prefer Word or PDF? ›

      Word documents are the preferred resume file type for applicant tracking systems (ATSs) because they are easier to parse than a PDF, so if you are applying for a job through an ATS, make your resume a . docx (or . doc).

      Can ATS read text boxes? ›

      While only certain ATS read columns as objects like tables and text boxes, most others ignore the formatting and read the data as plain text. Unfortunately, this eliminates spaces between words and turns your perfectly presented skills to rows of gibberish.

      How do you beat ATS system? ›

      This is how you beat an ATS:
      1. 1- Highlight OR privatize your social media accounts. ...
      2. 2- Customize the file name and metadata. ...
      3. 3- Spell out the acronym AND keep it too. ...
      4. Submit your files in MS Word format. ...
      5. Pick Arial over Times New Roman. ...
      6. Include your FULL mailing address. ...
      7. Consider deleting your previous applications.
      28 Jun 2022

      Do companies look for keywords in resume? ›

      Resume keywords and phrases are specific abilities, skills, expertise and traits recruiters and hiring managers look for in a candidate. Keywords consist of job-related nouns that describe your hard and soft skills and qualifications for a job.

      How can one make their resume ATS reject proof? ›

      How do I make an ATS-friendly resume?
      1. Avoid creating a generic resume. ...
      2. Pick an ATS-friendly resume template that goes easy on the graphics and uses a legible font.
      3. Go for the reverse chronological resume format.
      4. Tailor your resume to the job description. ...
      5. Create standard resume section headings.
      12 Oct 2022

      Why does my resume keep getting rejected? ›

      Another common mistake job-seekers make that gets their resume rejected is using exactly the same resume to apply for many job positions. This can cause your resume to never reach the hands of the HR manager because it might not even pass the Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

      How do you beat AI on resume? ›

      Follow these six main guidelines:
      1. 1) Upload your resume as a Microsoft Word document. ...
      2. 2) Customize your resume copy with the right keywords. ...
      3. 3) Avoid key information written in headers and footers. ...
      4. 5) Avoid fancy formatting. ...
      5. 6) Check that your resume complies with ATS bots. ...
      6. 1) Don't try to trick the AI bots.

      What percentage is needed to pass ATS? ›

      After scanning your resume, the ATS scores your resume on a 1 – 100% scale. A score of 80% or higher moves you on to a human recruiter who may contact you for a job interview. If your resume scores lower than 80% it is placed into a database for possible future consideration.

      Do tables mess up ATS? ›

      Applicant tracking systems have trouble reading embedded tables, symbols, charts, images, and other fancy design elements. In many cases, the ATS software that companies use will either skip over the information contained in those graphics or return it as a bunch of gibberish.

      How do I pass an ATS review? ›

      How To Make Sure Your Resume is ATS Friendly
      1. Optimize Keywords Based On The Job Description. The best way to get your resume ATS approved is by making sure your skills and experience match up with what is posted on the job description. ...
      2. Stick To A Chronological Or Hybrid Format. ...
      3. Save The Correct File Type. ...
      4. TopResume.
      14 Jan 2022

      Will a PDF resume pass ATS? ›

      A PDF resume without any charts or graphs can easily pass through most modern ATS systems without fail.

      Does ATS look at soft skills? ›

      Do Applicant Tracking Systems scan for soft skills? No. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) will never screen for soft skills. Even if a job description lists “leadership” as a key skill, there's no point in simply listing it in your skills section — it isn't a keyword the ATS is looking for.

      Do Margins matter for ATS? ›

      Use 1-inch margins; you can go down to . 5 inches on all sides but do not go lower than that. You want your document to be easily readable by the ATS. Resist the urge to center or justify your text -- it will make it harder for ATS to read.

      What is the primary disadvantage of an ATS? ›

      Some of the most important “cons” revolve around the way that an ATS reads and processes information. In short, it can't process what it can't read, and that leaves the technology open for unexpected results.

      What percentage of large companies use ATS? ›

      Your Competitors Are Using an ATS

      98% of Fortune 500 companies and at least 66% of large companies use it. The adoption rate for small companies is lower, but growing quickly. Last year, it was estimated that 35% of small organizations use ATS.

      What if I lied about my employment history? ›

      You could miss out on a job offer, damage your reputation, or even get fired once your fibs are revealed. Plus, it's easier than ever for a hiring manager to discover you're not telling the truth about your past. Here are 10 ways employers discover the truth behind your resume lies.

      Does font matter for ATS? ›

      Some top ATS convert your resume into a standard format for a recruiter to read. If you have the wrong font, the ATS may convert your resume incorrectly, showing important information as tofu, the term for those blank boxes that replace letters, numbers, and other characters when the font doesn't render.

      What format is best for ATS resume? ›

      Which resume format is ATS-friendly? The most common and most ATS-compatible format is the chronological resume. This type of resume lists your work experience in reverse chronological order, with your most recent position listed first.

      Can ATS read bullet points? ›

      I often have job seekers ask if bullet points are okay for a resume being submitted through ATS. Yes! In fact, standard bullet points are a great way to organize information on your ATS resume. However, non-traditional bullet points like stars, diamonds, and checkboxes do not always get parsed correctly.

      Can ATS read paragraphs? ›

      True or False: ATS can read resumes in any format.

      Graphics (including bullets), incorrect headings, formatting, characters, and wording may not be properly read by an ATS. Even then, information from a resume may appear to the recruiter as a solid, unformatted paragraph.

      Can ATS read columns in Word? ›

      From a visual perspective, they offer great ways to structure your experience and save space on your resume. But are they ATS compatible? No. Tables and columns often cause critical errors within ATS.

      What can ATS not read? ›

      ATS can misread resumes that are not optimized for ATS. Graphics (including bullets), incorrect headings, formatting, characters, and wording may not be properly read by an ATS. Even then, information from a resume may appear to the recruiter as a solid, unformatted paragraph.

      Can ATS read color? ›

      Unlike resume length or format, color does not affect your performance in ATS. So, there's no need to worry.

      Do most employers use ATS? ›

      Most large corporations use some form of applicant tracking systems. Jobscan research found that over 98.8% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS while a Kelly OCG survey estimated that 66% of large companies and 35% of small organizations rely on recruitment software. And these numbers continue to grow.

      Are ATS systems biased? ›

      However, applicant tracking systems can make mistakes. As well as eliminating candidates due to incompatible resume formatting, your ATS may even make biased hiring decisions. In other words, there is a definite link between your ATS and hiring discrimination.

      Do employers fact check your resume? ›

      Human resources departments and recruiters frequently check for lies in resumes but rarely tell candidates if they caught them lying, as they simply do not hire a person who lied.

      What should you not disclose on a resume? ›

      There's no need to include personal information on a resume such as your social security number, marital status, nationality, sexual orientation, or spiritual beliefs. In fact, it is illegal for employers to ask for these personal details.

      What do employers actually look at a resume? ›

      Rather, they are speedily scanning the page, looking for keywords, job titles, and major facts that will show if you are a good fit for the position.

      How do you not get rejected by ATS? ›

      Repeat important keywords for the job you are applying for

      The ATS will be looking to match and grade you on these words so ensure that your key skills are repeated so that they are picked up multiple times to gain points – but don't go overboard and stuff keywords everywhere.

      How do I stop ATS rejection? ›

      Here are some tips on how to set up filters in your ATS so that you can avoid rejection of the right talent:
      1. Make sure you're asking for relevant information. ...
      2. Don't ask for too much information at once! ...
      3. Use keywords when describing the position in an ad or posting on social media.

      Do cover letters get scanned by ATS? ›

      Do cover letters go through ATS? Although there are hundreds of ATS in the market, most ATS scan cover letters and match them against the job description.

      What are red flags in a resume? ›

      One of the most common resume red flags is an unexplained lengthy employment gap between previous roles. These gaps can sometimes lead hiring managers to assume that you have struggled to land jobs in the past, potentially indicating poor performance or some other shortcoming.

      What are 4 common resume mistakes? ›

      Here are just a few of the most common CV mistakes, according to five employers.
      • Having spelling errors and bad grammar. ...
      • Exaggerating the truth. ...
      • Poor formatting. ...
      • An unoriginal personal profile. ...
      • Not focusing on your achievements. ...
      • Making your CV too long. ...
      • Putting the wrong contact information.

      What are the 5 resume flags for employers? ›

      What Are the Top Résumé Red Flags?
      • Grammatical Errors and Spelling Mistakes. As shocking as it may seem, it's estimated that more than 50% of U.S. adults struggle with spelling even simple words. ...
      • Gaps in Employment History. ...
      • Job-Hopping. ...
      • Inconsistent Information Compared to Other Sources. ...
      • Embellishment or Résumé Padding.
      8 Feb 2022

      How accurate is resume parsing? ›

      They will combine specific words and phrases together to make complex structures as a way to capture the exact meaning of every sentence within a resume or cover letter. With a grammar-based parsing tool, it's possible to achieve up to 90% accuracy.

      What words do resume scanners look for? ›

      Resume scanners will quickly read a resume to find the words and phrases relating to the specific requirements of a job posting.
      Here are some important keywords to consider for your resume:
      • Budget.
      • Certification.
      • Customer service.
      • Engage.
      • Metrics.
      • Presentation.
      • Project management.
      • Technical.
      25 Feb 2020

      What are the factors to be considered for ATS? ›

      6 Factors to Consider During Your Applicant Tracking System Comparison
      • Cost. Certainly one of the most important factors to consider is how the cost of your ATS will fit your budget. ...
      • Usability. ...
      • Customer Support. ...
      • Career Site Management. ...
      • Vendor Reputation. ...
      • Internal Candidates.
      16 Sept 2016

      What features should an ATS have? ›

      Best ATS Features
      • Customizable Career Website. ...
      • Simple Application Process and Mobile Experience. ...
      • Employee Referral Program. ...
      • Hiring Manager Collaboration Tools. ...
      • Complete Recruiting Process Integrations. ...
      • Analytics and Dashboards. ...
      • Integrated Text Recruiting. ...
      • Strong Candidate Search.

      What should I look for in an ATS system? ›

      With so many different tools on the market and 200+ different Applicant Tracking Systems available, finding the right ATS for your business can be a challenge.
      Offer and Onboard
      • Approval Processes.
      • Integrated Background Checks.
      • Digital Offer Letters.
      • New Hire Onboarding.
      • EEOC and OFCCP Compliance.
      • Analytics and Reporting.
      25 Mar 2020

      What are 3 things you should not put on your resume? ›

      11 things not to put on your resume
      • Too much information. ...
      • A solid wall of text. ...
      • Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. ...
      • Inaccuracies about your qualifications or experience. ...
      • Unnecessary personal information. ...
      • Your age. ...
      • Negative comments about a former employer. ...
      • Too many details about your hobbies and interests.

      What percentage of hiring managers use ATS? ›

      An ATS is a computer software program that simplifies and speeds up the hiring process. Over 98.8% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS while 66% of large companies and 35% of small organizations rely on them.

      Can you be overweight in ATS? ›

      If you are going to haul overweight, you need to have the number of axles, and placement of them, to cover the weight. You can goole images of superloads to see what that looks like. Originally posted by Volrider: Also, you cannot exceed axle weight limits.

      What ATS do recruiters use? ›

      An applicant tracking system (ATS) is software for recruiters and employers to track candidates throughout the recruiting and hiring process.

      How do you beat ATS tracking? ›

      This is how you beat an ATS:
      1. 1- Highlight OR privatize your social media accounts. ...
      2. 2- Customize the file name and metadata. ...
      3. 3- Spell out the acronym AND keep it too. ...
      4. Submit your files in MS Word format. ...
      5. Pick Arial over Times New Roman. ...
      6. Include your FULL mailing address. ...
      7. Consider deleting your previous applications.
      28 Jun 2022

      Which ATS is considered to be the most popular? ›

      Top ATS vendors, by market presence
      • Paylocity.
      • Workday.
      • Zoho Recruit.
      • SmartRecruiters.
      • Jobvite.
      • Freshteam.
      • Greenhouse.
      • iCIMS.
      20 Oct 2022

      Are all ATS the same? ›

      ATS differ. They offer different functionality and complexity. An ATS from one company may be customized with different options so it operates differently from another ATS from the same company. Different Applicant Tracking Systems also provide different reporting functions.


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