5 Proven Strategies to Beat Job Application Screening Systems

Job Application: Tips to Beat Applicant Tracking Systems

Are you tired of sending out job applications without any response? It might be time to pay attention to how you format your resume and cover letter. In the digital age, many companies use automated Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen job applications. These software programs scan resumes and cover letters for specific keywords and formatting patterns before sending them to the hiring manager. If you don’t pass the ATS screening, your application may never reach the human eye. But don’t worry, by following a few simple tips, you can beat the ATS and increase your chances of getting hired.

Don’t Put Contact Information in the Header

As you create your resume and cover letter, don’t place your contact information in the header section. Some ATS are designed to ignore this information because it appears on every page of your document. Instead, put your name, address, phone number, and email address in the body of your resume or cover letter.

Avoid Borders

While you might think that adding a border to your resume will make it look more professional, it can actually hurt your chances of getting past the ATS. Some systems can’t read or interpret borders, and may therefore reject your application. Stick to a clean, simple design that doesn’t rely on decorative elements.

Use 1-inch Margins

When creating a resume or cover letter, keep one-inch margins at the top and bottom of each page. This will give your document a clean and consistent appearance. It will also make it easier for the ATS to read your content.

Choose Conservative Fonts

When it comes to fonts, stick to conservative options like Verdana, Arial, or Calibri. These fonts are easy to read and won’t be rejected by the ATS. Avoid using creative fonts or anything too stylized, as it can make your resume difficult to interpret digitally. And never use Times New Roman, as some ATS systems see it as outdated and might reject your application.

Use a Font Size of 11-Point or Larger

Make sure to use a font size of at least 11-point. Anything smaller can be challenging for the ATS to read. Additionally, using a larger font size will make your content more accessible to human readers. Keep in mind that some hiring managers may have trouble reading small text, so ensuring your content is legible is important.

Avoid Using Tables

While tables can be an effective way to organize information, you should avoid using them in your resume or cover letter. Many ATS systems can’t interpret tables, and may reject the document outright. Instead, use a simple bullet point format to list your achievements and qualifications.


To beat the ATS, you need to make sure your application stands out in the right way. By following these best practices, you will increase the likelihood of your resume and cover letter being seen by the hiring manager. But remember, formatting is only half the battle. It’s also important to tailor your content to match the job description, using relevant keywords and showcasing your skills and experience. By combining these tactics, you can create a winning application that will help you land your dream job. Good luck!

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