Ways Job Seekers Can Beat the Applicant Tracking System

National Experts in Resume Writing & Career Coaching

Ways Job Seekers Can Beat the Applicant Tracking System

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Job seekers face various hurdles during the job search process, but one common struggle almost every job seeker faces is how to beat the Applicant Tracking System (also known as ATS). The fact is many resumes from qualified applicants get rejected simply because the software couldn’t read it. And, even for the resume that does make it through the chance of getting a high ranking is slim. Applicant tracking software has improved over the course of the years to better identify relevant information on the resume compared to when it first came out, but a real hurdle remains for many job seekers to get passed these systems.

To succeed at job searching, know how to face the challenge of applicant tracking software and how to write an ATS-friendly resume:

Prepare to have more than one version of your resume
Yes, it’s more work, but having more than one version of your resume is a necessary when so many more employers today are relying on applicant tracking software. The ATS will review your resume looking at things like keyword matches in relation to skills, experience, and responsibilities held. The more matches there are, the better your ranking. A resume written for the ATS can also run longer to improve ranking results.

However, the resume that addresses the ATS is not always best suited and presentable to a hiring manager. Hiring managers are looking for resumes that provide information in a succinct manner and that offer supporting details to make the case that you’re a qualified and skilled candidate for the job. Trying to make the two styles mesh is difficult, so having more than one version of your resume is necessary and worth the time and effort to garner better results. Find more tips to a balanced resume, reading: “The Debate Over Resume Length, Unraveling the Truth.”

Be compliant with ATS
There’s a long list of the dos’ and don’ts to writing an ATS-friendly resume. Everything from Headings to formatting styles need to be carefully considered. Even how you save the resume file can dramatically impact results. For more tips to writing an ATS-friendly resume, read: “Applicant Tracking Systems: What’s Changed and How Does It Impact Resume Writing.”

Send the resume directly to a person
Job seekers may often rely on the employer’s website and job boards to apply for the job.  What happens to your resume when you apply via these methods is it is dumped into a big pool. The pool of resumes is often run through applicant tracking software (especially with larger employers). To avoid getting lost in the mix, do some research and find out who’s the best contact to directly send your resume to. This is where your other version of the resume (the presentable one) comes into play.

Use other methods to job search
When you take the traditional job search route of job boards, there’s no avoiding the ATS. By considering alternative methods to job searching, you can go around the ATS. Methods like job networking allows you to have direct person-to-person contact. And, when you can say you were referred by someone the individual knows, it often allows you to get your resume directly into the hands of decision makers without having to run through the ATS. For more tips, read: “5 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Job Search Results.”

Consider the passage the resume may go through before getting into the hands of the hiring manager as you’re writing the resume. While technology has helped the job search in many ways, it has also created more work for job seeker in trying to get their resume noticed by employers. When writing the resume, prepare to customize and personalize it to the reader.