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The Role of ATS in Job Search

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are third-party software providers that give employers the ability to manage applications efficiently and effectively. It is also known as a talent management system that processes job applications to manage the hiring process. From receiving and storing applications to hiring employees, these systems provide an automated method for organizations to manage their entire recruiting process.

After applications land in the database, employers use the ATS to filter, analyze, and manage candidates for each job opening. When a hiring manager sets parameters for a position, the system is capable of giving a rating to every resume based on years of experience, qualification, skill sets and appearance of a particular keyword or phrase. Using a cumulative score, the ATS then ranks the applications so that the hiring manager is able to identify the “ideal candidate” for the job.

Why do hiring managers use ATS?

Employers use ATS because it makes it easier for them to evaluate the hundreds of candidates for each job posting. It provides an organized system to keep track of all of the applications.

There are primarily 3 benefits of using ATS:

  • First, instead of going through every resume and cover letter (which can be a horrendous task in itself), the automated system provides the employer with the ease of filtering and sorting candidates that fit the employer’s preference. This speeds up the hiring process for HR as well as the applicant.
  • Second, the ATS can send automated messages to applicants to complete online tests and schedule interviews while also helping the employer mail out rejection letters. This is both time and cost efficient.
  • Lastly, it makes the hiring process trackable. Employers are able to track from which job board, website, or referral they received the maximum response. This allows employers to focus on those areas where they are likely to find the most success in finding the ideal candidate.

How does an ATS work?

Once an application has been received online, the candidate’s educational qualifications, experience, contact information, and cover letter are uploaded into the database. This information can easily be shifted from one module of the system to another as applicants move through the hiring process.

Hiring managers can easily search the database using keywords specific to the job title and the skills required for the position. For example, if a hiring manager is looking for a candidate in marketing, they might use “marketing campaigns” or “manager” to find candidates that match their specified criteria. On the other hand, if he needs someone with a specific qualification or certification such as an “MBA,” they can use the ATS to filter out candidates who may not have that certification listed on their resume.

The search performed can be multi-faceted to ensure that the best match is extracted from the database, such as work experience, previous job titles, keyword phrases from the job-description and more.

How can my resume get past the ATS filter?

There is no doubt that you have to pass the ATS screening before you land the interview, but that should by no means be a deterrent for your application. All you have to do is use some basic standards to help your resume stand out.

Listed here are few key tips to tailor your CV to get through the ATS barrier:

  • Include keywords that appear in the job description
  • Spell out acronyms wherever used
  • Specify your certifications and qualifications
  • Use a professional font and bullet points
  • Avoid the use of graphics, tables, and charts
  • List work history in reverse chronological order
  • Include both hard and soft skills
  • Place your contact information at the top of the resume (but not in the header)
  • Create a section for “Core competencies” or “Area of expertise”
  • Include previous job titles relevant to the current position
  • Double check for any spelling or grammatical errors
  • Include a cover letter with the CV detailing relevant experience to the current position

Getting past an ATS isn’t rocket science, but it does take some finesse and ingenuity on your part. Most of these criteria are already crucial requirements for your resume, targeting your resume to the specific job you’re applying for is all you need to do for your resume to be ready for the application. With that you’re well on your way to beating the ATS and bagging the interview!

If you’re unsure whether your resume is ATS-friendly, hiring a professional resume writer will help you get it there. We are experts in knowing what the computers are looking for while also making sure your resume is easy to read for humans as well. Reach out to Total Resumes to see how we can help make sure your resume gets past the ATS.

Author Carolyn Whitfield

TORI-Nominated, Multi-Certified Resume Master & Coach ★ 12+ Yrs Expertise ★ 98% Client Interview-Winning Success Rate. As an executive resume expert who has carved a strong reputation in the resume industry, I’ve helped thousands of rising stars and executives worldwide ascend to the next step on the career ladder.

More posts by Carolyn Whitfield

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