ATS Systems, How they Work and How to Optimize your Resume

The first step

The first step in the recruitment and selection process is making it to the stage where a recruiter glances at your resume and makes a split-second decision about whether to chuck your resume into the recycle bin or read it further to determine if you make the cut for the interview process. However more than 90% of companies and organizations filter job applicants and resumes through an applicant tracking system (ATS) before a recruiter or hiring manager reads through the job applications. In this article, we will discuss how to get your resume ranked highly within ATS systems, so that you can equip yourself with the resume needed to get moved on to the next step in the recruitment process.

Resume rejection
Rejection of Employment Application

Understanding what one is

An ATS is a type of software application that streamlines the candidate selection process, namely by automatically evaluating thousands of resumes, to determine which ones are the best fit for the positions for which they were submitted. ATS systems process your resume by looking for certain criteria for inclusion or matching keywords and skills from your resume with those mentioned in the job description, while recruiters are often looking for grounds for automatic rejection, such as spelling errors or lack of relevant skills.

Save yourself some time and read up

Resume writing assistance

Applicant tracking systems facilitate employers in saving time by aiding the initial screening process. An ATS also makes it easy for employers to keep tabs on the hiring process and to communicate with applicants directly. Applicant tracking systems were first used by large corporations that received thousands of applications, but smaller businesses are now using them just as frequently. ATS systems process resumes submitted by prospective candidates and sometimes even use social media to actively recruit potential employees. When you submit your resume through an ATS, it stores your resume and an entry in the database. Recruiters are then able to search for keywords based upon the particular job opening.

If your resume contains the keywords the employer wants, then the ATS will rank you higher in the search results, similar to how a search engine, like Google, ranks various websites pertaining to different topics and keywords. The keyword searches by recruiters include the qualifications and experiences specific to the particular job opening and the employer can even command the ATS to search the company’s entire database of resumes to look for candidates with certain qualifications. This means that even if you submitted your resume a long time ago and never got a response, the company may have kept it on file in its database, and the ATS might identify you as a good candidate for a different position long after you originally submitted your resume.

Applicant tracking systems optimize the recruitment process, shortening the time it takes before a hiring manager contacts applicants who are potentially good candidates for the job. If you think your best qualities only show once you meet your potential employers face to face, you can boost your chances if you can rank highly in the ATS.

Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon for candidates to create one resume that they submitted for all potential job opportunities. However, today, it is ideal to review each and every job description prior to submission and ensure your resume contains the right buzzwords and skills before applying. Researching jobs and optimizing your resume with keywords before you apply is the best way to get a significant number of interviews.