Updated: Apr 26, 2020
Let's Circle Back Blog: A Basic Rundown of ATS -- For any well-qualified candidate, it's important to know that if their resume is not compliant with ATS keywords or formatting, they will be a part of the 75% of resumes that ATS rejects, regardless of their qualifications.
ATS and Your Resume.
An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a recruiting and hiring software program used by companies to collect and search through all of the resumes they receive for a job posting. Gone are the days of a hiring manager reading through countless resumes looking for a qualified candidate. That is what an ATS is for. An ATS scans resumes looking for specific keywords the company wants to search for. ATS algorithms push resumes to the top of the pile for hiring mangers based on keywords and formatting, not qualifications and experience. Think about what this means. You could be the most qualified candidate for a position, but because your resume doesn't contain words like "collaborator" or "troubleshoot" enough, your resume could be rejected.
ATS may sound like an expensive endeavor, only available to Fortune 500 companies, but they're everywhere! Unfortunately for any experienced and well-qualified candidates lacking resume know-how, 66% of large companies and 35% of small organizations rely on recruitment software for their employee search. And as software capabilities grow and become less expensive, the number of companies using ATS continue to grow.
There are currently dozens of ATSs that a company can choose from like Taleo, Smart Recruiters, or Jobvite. Each has their own unique features, preferences, and characteristics. If you're applying online, especially through any online resume forms like Indeed or LinkedIn, you're about to meet an ATS.
Hacking the Hiring Process.
At this point, you're probably pretty upset that the system in place that determines your career and its future is dependent on a biased software system scanning your resume for certain keywords. I know I was when I found out about this. There is a silver lining though. Now that you've learned about ATS, you officially have an edge on your competition. Congratulations!
ATS are complicated and intricate systems. But that doesn't mean they can't be understood and worked around. Below are a few tips to help you hack the hiring process and beat the bots!
Analyze the job description and look for action words they emphasize multiple times. Strategically place those words throughout your resume.
Every resume you send out should be tailored to the specific job posting!
Formats matter! ATS dissect the resume into a digital profile to make things uniform and searchable. However, many ATS are unable to dissect resumes with certain formats (e.g. multiple columns) causing the resume information to get distorted or lost. Read my blog post about resume format here.
As tempting as it may sound, do not put a picture of yourself or use any fancy graphics
Use a traditional font
Looking for expertise? The Philly Resume Writer (TPRW) is happy to help you with the process! TPRW provides every client with a unique resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile that are optimized to include proper ATS keywords and are tested through the specific ATS software to ensure they will pass the job posting's system.
Comment below with any ATS tips or tricks that have worked for you!