The Applicant tracking system.
An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a software application that enables the electronic handling of recruitment and hiring needs.
In many cases they filter applications automatically based on given criteria such as keywords, skills, former employers, years of experience and schools attended. This has caused many to adapt resume optimization techniques similar to those used in search engine optimization when creating and formatting their curriculum.
What’s the principle.
A dedicated ATS is not uncommon for recruitment-specific needs.
The principal function of an ATS is to provide a central location and database for a company’s recruitment efforts.
The ability of these ATS solutions allows jobs to be posted where the candidate is and not just on-job boards. This ability is being referred to as Omnichannel talent acquisition.
With the advent of ATS, resume optimization techniques and online tools are often used by applicants to increase their chances of landing an interview call.
What are the benefits.
Functionality of an ATS is not limited to data mining and collection; ATS applications in the recruitment industry include the ability to automate the recruitment process through a defined workflow. A corporate career site or company specific job board module may be offered, allowing companies to provide opportunities to internal candidates prior to external recruitment efforts. Candidates may be identified via pre-existing data or through information garnered through other means.
My top tips for creating a software friendly curriculum.
Know Your rivals.
While it’s not likely that you’ll know who else is competing for an open position, recognizing what the competition looks like is key.
In the job application process, you are up against the ATS.
“ATS is the acronym for applicant tracking system. In short, an ATS is a piece of software used by employers to scan and rank the online job applications they receive for their open positions”
This software is used within large organizations, which need help sifting through thousands of incoming applications they receive. An estimated 95% of Fortune 500 companies currently use an ATS to manage their applicant tracking process.
Wording and keywords will make the difference.
Using verbs like “outperformed,” “solved,” “led,” and “delivered,” are essential when creating a resume. These action verbs powerfully show off what you did in each of your previous roles. However, having in mind we’re fighting against a software,things need to go to the next level.
“The most important element — beyond formatting your resume so it can be accurately ‘read’ and analyzed by the ATS — is keyword optimization,”
“This is how the applicant tracking system determines if the candidate possess the necessary qualifications to be considered for the position. In addition to listing out a specific term, we need to include any common abbreviations.”
“To make sure your resume is compatible with any ATS system, incorporate the best keywords throughout your resume 2-3 times”
Simplicity is a key.
While beautiful resume templates, custom cover letters, and charts may wow a human recruiter, chances are that the ATS software will not appreciate the extra effort.
Some tips for keeping it simple:
Use a simple, clean design,charts and other images, custom font,bullet styles will get simply skipped over when the ATS software scans the application.
Avoid submitting your resume as a PDF unless the system specifically lists PDF files among the acceptable options. Some ATS software scans a PDF as though it were one big image.
Don’t include important details like your contact information in the header or footer. Again, not every ATS is able to read the information placed in these sections of a Word document.
Most importantly, customize your resume with keywords that represent the required soft and hard skills found in the job listings. Incorporate these terms throughout the resume, particularly in the “Key Skills” and “Work Experience” sections.
Make it a balancing act.
While resume-scanning software has become increasingly popular, it has not replaced human recruiters.
Be Specific, Not General
Generic resumes are a big no-no. Gone are the days when you could send out a resumes and get a callback from an hiring manager.Furthermore, evaluating the resume or give it the final check, let’s remain objective.
“Remember that we are not writing this resume for ourselves, we are writing it for prospective employers.”
Deciding what information to include in the resume, consider the details that will help a recruiter or employer assess skills and qualifications for a particular role.
The best way to Shine: The Cover Letter
At this time, not all ATSs can scan and read cover letters. Therefore, even though the application may say a cover letter is optional, it could be the perfect opportunity to really differentiate yourself from the competition of other applicants.
Here you have some tips for the perfect cover letter.
Doesn’t just bring up again the content on your resume
Make the opening paragraph catchy
Explains why you love the company
Connects accomplishments and experiences to what they’re looking for.
Explains what can you do for the company/how you can solve their challenges
Must contain a call to action (e.g. “I look forward to hearing from you about next steps.”)
Link it to your portfolio (if applicable)
Is always addressed to an actual person or team (NOT “To whom it may concern”)
Is definitely less than a page
Doesn’t use overly-formal language
These are other resume tips besides the aim of passing the ATS Software screening.
Avoid placing important details like your contact information in the header or footer of your resume document.
Less is more when it comes to your resume format. Stick to a simple, clean resume design that doesn’t include embedded charts, images, or unusual fonts.
Customize your resume with relevant keywords. Identify the important keywords found in the job listings that interest you and incorporate them throughout the resume, particularly in the “Key Skills” and “Work Experience” sections.
Save your resume as a Word document file. Unfortunately, there are still some ATS platforms that cannot convert PDF, HTML, Open Office, or Apple Pages documents and will discard resumes that are saved in such document formats.
How to test your resume against an applicant tracking system software (ATS)
There are two easy ways: First : Save your resume in plain text
Applicant tracking systems have trouble reading tables, symbols, charts, images, and other fancy design elements.
In many cases, the ATS software will either skip over the information contained in those graphics or return it as a bunch of gibberish. In either case, important information will be left out of your application.
To determine what information may become confused or eliminated when passed through the ATS, save a copy of your curriculum as plain text and then review the result.
If the plain text version of your resume is missing details from your original resume, has some of its characters saved incorrectly, or looks disorganized then your resume did not pass the ATS readability test.
ATS-friendly resume test number two: request a free ATS scan over the internet.
Just google free resume ATS scanning and you will easily find website that offers this free service and will provide you with the information we have seen in the article so far.
Keywords are key
Once we submit a resume through an ATS software , it stores the application as an entry in its database. Recruiters can then go into the ATS and search for those applicants whose resumes contain keywords related to their job opening, such as a specific skill or experience.
It’s incredibly important that the right keywords are included throughout the curriculum if we want the application to show up on the recruiter’s list of possible candidates.
If unsure about which keywords to include, easily start by reviewing the job descriptions for what we are applying for and identifying the terms that mostly are mentioned in the job listing itself.
Less is usually more.
Don’t use graphics, tables, or columns in resumes. While these may look nice to the human eye, they become confused messes or get completely left out of the application after passing through the applicant tracking system.
It’s much better to stick to a simple, clean design if we want the application to pass through the ATS without issue. Less is truly more when it comes to resume format.
The unfriendly PDF ( sometimes)
When applying for a job through an ATS, try and submit the resume as a Microsoft Word file, rather than a PDF file.
While PDF files are great because they ensure the format remains unchanged, many applicant tracking systems can’t convert the file to extract the text from. As a result, the resume file may be classified “unusable” and then discarded. As there’s a chance that the software will read it as one page picture.
Good luck with your next job application!