Applicant Tracking Systems: 3 Insights to Get Your Resume Read

Companies using an Applicant Tracking System, Addison Group

It’s common for candidates to apply for dozens of jobs and not hear back from any of them. Since job postings sometimes have hundreds of applicants, companies have begun using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). ATS’ help filter out the candidate pool before resumes are even seen by a real person.

A survey from JobScan shows that almost 99% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS to automatically filter through resumes. Even if you’re qualified for a position, your application may be discarded early in the process because of these systems.

You want your resume to get into the hands of a recruiter or hiring manager. To do so, you need to understand how an ATS works, and best practices to get your resume through them.

Below are three important insights to better your chances of getting your resume past bots and into the right hands!

What are Applicant Tracking Systems?

An applicant tracking system, or ATS, is a software used to track candidates throughout the hiring process that can filter out resumes based on certain criteria before a real person gets the chance to review it. Resumes can be filtered out for multiple reasons, such as having an unreadable format, lack of keywords, years of experience listed, and more.

Their main purpose is to filter out people who aren’t suited for the open position. However, it’s a piece of technology, and that always comes with some faults. It’s possible people are being filtered out even if they’re a great fit.

You should compare job descriptions to your resume to make sure there’s nothing that’d cause the software to exclude your application. Keep reading for some tips to help you through this!

Tailor Your Resume to the Position You’re Applying For

While applying for a specific job, look into similar positions and determine keywords that reappear across the board. Then look at your resume and see if these words are listed throughout. You want to make sure you’re including words and skills that are common among similar jobs. The ATS will likely be looking for those words to push your resume forward.

For example, imagine you’re applying for a Content Marketing position. Applicant Tracking Systems may be searching for words like “email”, “blog”, “social media”, “search engine optimization”, etc. Look for words specifically listed in the job description and make sure they’re prominent in your resume.

One way to plug these words into your resume is to customize your work history. If you had a previous position and content marketing was a small portion of it, alter the description of your last position to make it more content focused. Emphasize your writing and social media skills, note any marketing projects that you contributed to, and filter out your technical skills to remove anything that may not apply, and add in skills that will.

Another thing systems will search for is the years of experience you have listed. If you’re applying for a job that requires five years of experience and you have three years listed, it’s likely your resume will be automatically filtered out. Either adjust your job search or take this number out.

Employers are seeking candidates who match the job description and the ATS will filter out applications if they lack keywords, too few years of experience, certain skills, and more. Take the time to adjust your resume as needed!

Reach Out to the Employer

Despite your best efforts, sometimes your resume may not get through. Whether it’s a minor formatting error, or too few keywords, an ATS may discard your application for many reasons. There are still ways to ensure your resume gets into the right hands.

The best thing to do after applying to any position is reach out to the recruiter or hiring manager who posted the job. Send them a quick message expressing your interest and explaining your concerns, and why you hope they will take the time to review your resume before the ATS potentially discards it. This will increase your chance of getting your resume into the hands of a real person.

Applicant Tracking Systems may filter out your resume when applying to jobs, even if you’re qualified for that position. It’s important you understand what they are, how they work, and some ways you can ensure your resume gets past them and into the hands of someone who can take a real look at your application.

One final way to get around an ATS is to avoid them entirely. Addison Group has more than 20 years of hiring experience and is here to help you land your next position. Click here to take the first step!

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