Tips for Success: What You Can Do to Get the Applicant Tracking System to Notice You

Most companies use technology called Applicant Tracking Systems, or “ATS” to manage their candidate and applicant hiring process. So it’s important to understand what makes the technology ‘tick’, and what you can do to help it help you get noticed.
The ATS searches for keywords and phrases within a resume that fit the job description or the skills and experience the hiring manager is looking for to find the candidates who may be the best ‘fit’ for the job.
  • Then it gives a “weight” or a “score” that factors into how recently and how long the skills were used.
  • And creates a unique profile for every applicant that includes information like years of experience, industry, top skills, and most common words in the resume that connect with the words in the job description.

  1. The technology works great for recruiters because it does the work of sifting through hundreds or
    thousands of resumes a year, but it presents challenges for job seekers.

So How Do You Get the ATS to Work Hard for You?

It’s not as hard as it may seem. Here are two steps to get your resume in tip-top shape to help the technology put your application and resume up front:

1. Identify the keywords, phrases, and skills that are listed within the job descriptions you plan to apply for, and pay close attention to the required qualifications. Make a list of those terms, keywords, and the like to include throughout your resume (as long as you have that skill or experience).

2. Clean up Your Naming Sections. It’s important to clearly label each section of your resume so the ATS can easily follow the flow of the document and recruiters can read through your application easily. 
Use this recommended flow: 
- Contact Information: Name, email, phone number, and your LinkedIn URL if you have one
- Summary or Profile: A great place to add keywords that match your desired job and the job you're applying to
- Areas of Expertise or Core Competencies: Put the list in bullet format to make it easy for the ATS to find your top skills
- Work Experience: List your most recent job first followed by the job before that and so on. Each job listed should include company name, job title, location and the dates/years worked in that role
- Education and Certifications: State education type, like HS Diploma, Bachelors Degree, etc., as well as the area of study. And if listing a certification, include what association or instituiton issued the certification
- Honors and Awards
- Volunteer Work

Putting Your Resume To Work: 2 More Tips Before You Leave! 

Now that you know what the ATS is looking for and you've updated your resume, here are two more tips: 

- If you're not getting calls for interviews, try changing some of the key words in your resume--especially in your summary and areas of expertise. Maybe there are some that are a better match for the jobs you're applyin to
- If you're applying for a few different kinds of jobs, be sure to change the content of your resume to match. For example, if youj're applying for roles in customer service and also jobs in healthcare, have two versions of your resume so you've got one for each industry. The easist place to make changes is in your Summary section and list of skills. 
Knowing what the ATS is looking for and having the best version of yourself on resume is the first step to snagging your next job! 

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