All About Resumes and the Applicant Tracking Systems

Oct 31, 2023

Are you ready to begin your job search, but don’t know where to start? Or have you been applying to positions but haven’t had any luck? Centre for Skills has got you covered! Whether it’s composing a professional summary or identifying your transferable skills, this tip sheet will show you the best way to highlight your assets to the ATS, and to impress the employer!

So, what is the ATS, you might ask?

The Applicant Tracking System, otherwise known as the ATS, is a computerized software that allows artificial intelligence to scan your resume for keywords that are mentioned in the job-posting (Budhraja, 2022). If your resume is a match, the employer will be notified, and only then will a member of the management team review it in-person.

In order to develop your resume, you must first decide if you would like to format it according to the chronological, functional, or hybrid style. To learn more about the different types of resumes, click here!

Once you’ve decided on which version you would like to create, you must then list your name and contact information at the top of the page, followed by a professional summary or a general statement which will provide an overview of who you are and introduce yourself to the employer. This abstract generally consists of two-to-three sentences, and some key skills that align with what is required on the job posting (Taylor, 2023).

At this point, you may be wondering what skills you should include in your resume, and how many to use. To answer, I would suggest offering a combination of soft and hard skills, depending on what your employer is looking for.

Soft skills generally consist of abilities that you gained throughout your life by interacting with other people, such as customer service or interpersonal communication. In contrast, hard skills relate to your expertise, and are often learned in a formal or academic setting. Examples of these include a degree or diploma, or a course you took as part of your professional development, or whilst in school (Indeed Editorial Team, 2023). Hard skills can also include your computer skills and experience operating various equipment, as well as any on-the-job training you may have had.

As a recap, both the professional summary and the skills that you include in your resume should match keywords that are listed in the job posting you are referencing. This is the best way to ensure that the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), appropriately captures your details and relays them to the employer.

It is important to add however, that as an applicant, you must make sure that you are being honest and truthful in your application, and that the information that you’ve included in your resume, does not go outside of your scope of expertise.

If you would like more targeted assistance and advice, please feel free to visit one of our offices in Burlington, Milton, Mississauga, or Oakville or book a one-on-one appointment with one of our Employment Specialists to address your employment needs.