How to Beat the Applicant Tracking System and Land a Job Interview

applicant tracking system friendly resume

You might have heard of the applicant tracking system or ATS but have never looked in to the details of how the applicant tracking system works and how to actually beat it and land an interview. In this article we’ll tell you what an applicant tracking system is and how to get your resume in front of a human.

Applicant Tracking System (ATS) – What is it?

Software application called ATS is used to streamline the hiring process. It sorts through all of the resumes that a company receives to choose the employees that best match the position they are applying for. They work much the same way as human recruiters as both humans and the ATS look for specific criteria. Humans look for reasons to reject a resume, such as poor grammar and a lack of skills, while an applicant tracking system searches through the resume for keywords that match the job description.

Why are Applicant Tracking Systems Used by Employers?

These applicant tracking systems can save an employer both time and prints so they make it much easier for an employer to stay organised. If they didn’t use an ATS then a recruiter will have to use a lot more time reading and shredding resumes and looking through and weeding out emails. ATS also means that there is s smaller risk of human error from employers accidentally for example deleting the CV of the right candidate. An applicant tracking system makes it much easier for an employer to stay on top of the recruiting process and stay in touch with applicants as well. Applicant tracking systems were originally used by big companies who would receive tons of resumes but they have become so useful and cost-effective that even smaller businesses use them now. Given that companies will use software to track the relevant information about their customer base it makes sense for them to use similar software for tracking prospective employees.

How Does ATS Work?

An ATS will process the resumes applicants submit and can also track social media accounts to recruit the right employee. If you applied via ATS then it will store your resume in its database. The recruiter then searches the database using keywords related to the job opening. The ATS works like a search engine and it ranks resumes based on keywords. These keywords are related to the expertise and experience the recruiter is looking for with that job opening. An employer can also use the Applicant Tracking System to search through the entire database of resumes. This means that resumes that were submitted a long time ago also show up. Even if you never heard back from an employer they may still have your resume in the database and you may be contacted in regards to a job opening that suits you better.

Self-branding via Social Media

Networking is and always has been a critical piece of the job hunt. These days networking has evolved and these days social media is an important aspect. Many people feel that having a presence in social media can help you to get hired and many job seekers are aware that they need to present a good image of themselves on their social media accounts. There is more to being attractive to an ATS than just avoiding to post photos of your night on the town. Recruiters can also crawl the internet to search for specific keywords by using a social recruiting software. Because of this it’s a good idea to have some basic information about where you went to school, where you’ve worked, and skills on your social media. That way you can ensure you are found by these social recruiting programs.

Search Engine Optimize (SEO) Your Resume

You have likely realized that tailoring your resume to be noticed by an ATS is much the same as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In SEO the web content is adjusted so that it appears higher in search engine results. Keyword matching is a major part of the SEO process and having the right keywords on your website makes it appear higher in the rankings when people search for those keywords. As such the optimal way you can get your resume to show up in an ATS is to use the kind of keywords that the recruiter will search the ATS with.

Do Your Research

One common piece of job seeking advice is to customize your resume for the job that you want to land. You need to make some changes to your resume to show off how good fit you are for the particular job that you’re applying for. Employers are looking for specific qualifications, whether they are looking through resumes themselves or having an ATS do it for them. You should do your research on the company that you are sending an applications to. Take a look at the social media accounts of current employees, especially LinkedIn, and check if you are using the same keywords or have identical qualifications to them.

Avoid Fluff

When a recruiter uses an ATS to look for keywords then it means that they look for specific skills. So if you were to apply for a job as a nurse then the most likely keywords the recruiter will use are “clinical” or “patient care”. They will not search for keywords like “team player” or “outgoing”. The Applicant Tracking System is used to make things much easier for the recruiter and find an applicant who closely matches the particular job. Remember that keyword density is an important factor when it comes to the ATS ranking your resume against others. Recruiters will also use some good old fashioned human judgement so avoid putting fluff in your resume. Keep it short, simple, and use the right keywords so your resume gets noticed.

Keep these tips in mind when you are applying for a job next time. If you are wondering that can you use a fancy resume with ATS don’t worry we got you covered and offer a variety of ATS friendly resumes. ATS friendly resumes have a more simple design but we have still managed to make them stylish and professional. With these tips and our ATS friendly resumes you will get pass the Applicant Tracking System and have an easy to read resume for the recruiter to look at.

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2 thoughts on “How to Beat the Applicant Tracking System and Land a Job Interview

  1. Carin Harris says:

    Thanks for this post – I’ve always wondered about how it all works and now I have some great tips. I’m sharing it with so many people I know who are also trying to find jobs now. Cheers!

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