Resume ‘must haves’ and ‘good to haves’ to land that interview

Nowadays, resumes go through at least two rounds of screening. The first round of screening is done by HR systems called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). The next round of screening is performed by humans.72% of resumes are screened out in the first round on average. This means that it is very important to play by the rules of the ATS. The ATS evaluates candidates and finally prepares a report based the candidate’s resume.  Hence, it is critical for resumes to pass the ATS test. Here are a few things the ATS looks for.

First and foremost, the ATS takes keywords as input from HRs as per the job requirements. The ATS then gets to work by dividing the resume into several sections. This process is also known as resume parsing.  A few of the resume sections are as follows:

  1. Contact Info
  2. Objective
  3. Summary
  4. Employment History
  5. Education History
  6. Competencies
  7. Professional Qualifications
  8. Accomplishments / Achievements / Honors and Awards
  9. Hobbies / Interests
  10. Patents
  11. Publications
  12. Certifications

These are some of the sections that the ATS first divides the resume into. The objective of this task is to make sense of the information in the resume. The mere presence of keywords is not enough. Checking which section the keywords belong to goes a long way in evaluating a profile in a much better manner. Let us take a simple example. Let us just say that an employer is looking for a social media specialist with experience in Google Analytics. Google Analytics being mentioned in the employment history section of the resume is much better than Google Analytics being present only in the competencies section. The former shows that the candidate has more expertise on the subject because of concrete work on the subject as opposed to enlisting it. Many such aspects make resume parsing a very important first step. What does this mean for a job applicant?


  1. Job applicants must write resumes that have an ATS-friendly format so that they are easily parsable, i.e. they can easily be split into the right sections by the ATS. This means that resume section nomenclature should be observed.
  2. Keywords identified by the applicant must be added in the appropriate sections. This shows the applicant in the best possible light both to the ATS as well as the HR.
  3. Sections that an ATS would definitely look for would be the Contact Info, Employment History, Education History, and the Competencies sections. These sections play a vital role in the evaluation of the applicant.


Sections that are also good to have are those such as a Summary section highlighting expertise, the Objective section tailored to each job showing high level of relevance and research, an Achievements section to display the accolades received, and other details such as Patents, Publications, etc that also add immensely to the value of the applicant.


In conclusion, these are certain good practices to follow in order to make an ATS and HR friendly resume to drastically increase the chances of landing an interview. Details on other aspects such as keywords and the actual process of resume optimization are mentioned in our other blogs. To find out what you should be putting on your CV, read this. Please stay tuned. Good luck.