To be successful in landing interviews, job seekers need to know and understand applicant tracking systems and what they do. A large majority of companies, both big and small, utilize applicant tracking systems to filter resume submissions before an actual person reviews them. This can in turn affect a job seeker’s chance at even receiving a call or landing an interview. However, resumes can be tweaked to improve their chances of making it through an Applicant Tracking System. Keep reading to find out how to beat an ATS!

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

Applicant tracking systems are a type of software used by recruiters. It manages the entire recruitment and hiring process, from start to finish. Every applicant tracking system is different, but the overall goal is to collect, organize and filter resume submissions. If you’re a job seeker and you’ve submitted your resume online through a secure form, it’s likely an applicant tracking system.

Why Are Companies Using ATS?

With technology advancements, it became wildly easy to apply for jobs. Companies with job positing’s online can receive hundreds of applicants a day because all it takes is the click of a button to upload and submit your resume. This has also led to many under-qualified individuals applying to positions simply because “it’s worth a shot”.

For this reason, Human Resources professionals and hiring managers simply don’t have time to go through a stack of one hundred resumes each day. Instead, they turn to applicant tracking systems. This Is especially convenient for companies who are hiring an array of positions at once and for recruiting or staffing agencies that intake a large number of candidates.

How They Work:

These types of software contain resumes in a database and sort them based on different credentials. Some types of ATS rank candidates based on how well their profile matches the job description. This is determined by keyword searches utilizing past job titles, responsibilities, skills, and more. Companies then prioritize higher ranked candidates, hence why a large amount go unnoticed.
The Issues ATS Causes:

While Applicant Tracking Systems are very helpful for companies, they are not all that reliable. A vast majority of applications get eliminated, but not always the right ones. Some very qualified candidates who have formatting issues or not enough keywords in their resume slip through the cracks, unfortunately. That’s not necessarily a reason that a hiring manager would pass by a candidate if they were to go through submissions manually. The companies using ATS face this trade-off and save time while running the risk of missing valuable candidates.

Beating Applicant Tracking Systems:

There are differences was that job seekers can prep their resumes to go through applicant tracking systems. However, the main way to get around them is to simply not use them. Go into the companies office and submit your resume by hand. Sure, this is old-schooled but there’s no harm in doing so. Or, email it to their hiring manager directly if you can obtain this info.

If it turns out that you must submit your application to a company online through their applicant tracking system, you can tweak your resume a bit beforehand. First, look at the job description. Take note of the keywords and main highlights or skills for that position. Use these in your resume and make sure it contains them more than just once. Remember, your resume should be changed occasionally so it is geared towards a specific position-it’s always a work in progress. If you need more guidance getting your resume together, check out Constructing Your Resume.

Another way to overcome the way that applicant tracking systems count candidates out is to keep it simple. Too many columns, graphs, designs, and other formats can lead to errors in the way that the ATS reads the resume.

Final Tips:

Applicant tracking systems relieve recruiters and hiring managers of having to review entire stacks of applications daily. Even though they can resumes to find perfect matches, it doesn’t always work out that way simply because qualified candidates aren’t aware that their resume needs to be tailored to an ATS.

Take the time to tweak your resume when submitting it electronically to ensure that it makes it to a human. It’s simple and will quickly make a difference in how many interviews you land!