Before your resume gets to your hiring manager, it reaches the resume scanners first.
In other words, the applicant tracking system (ATS).
Nearly 100% of Fortune 500 companies (Jobscan) are using an ATS to find and hire new employees. It’s almost guaranteed that your employers are using this recruiting tool to review your resume.
After all, they don’t have the luxury to sit down and spend weeks reading through every job application individually.
In this guide, we’ll be going through how to beat the applicant tracking system so you can land an interview and your next dream job.
What Is An Applicant Tracking System?
An applicant tracking system is a software employers use to find qualified candidates faster for a job opening. It does this by scanning your application to see if it meets certain requirements that have been set.
That’s why it’s important to include specific details from the job description.
It saves time and money for hiring teams and recruiters. Checking each online job document is a time-consuming process that can easily be automated with modern technology.
And unfortunately, not all resumes hiring managers read are from qualified candidates.
So to narrow down the list and make the selection easier, the ATS filters out those that meet the minimum criteria from those that don’t. This way, they can focus only on applicants who are worth their time. To put simply, the candidates whose applications have passed the ATS test.
What Applicant Tracking Systems Look For In Job Applications
Your resume gets automatically checked against the company’s job description.
Employers will know if you’ve read about the position carefully and taken the time to do the background research. More importantly, if you have the minimum qualifications for the role. When you don’t meet the requirements that have been set, you won’t reach the interview stage.
To be more precise, an applicant tracking system will scan for things such as:
- Relevant keywords
- Work history
- Grammar and spelling
How To Beat The Applicant Tracking System
Apart from the writing itself, some technical factors such as your resume design will have an impact on the ATS. With an AI builder though, it’s a lot simpler because most of the process is already taken care of for you.
1. Make Sure You’re Qualified For The Role
The applicant tracking software makes it clear whether or not you meet their conditions.
Yet, there are still job seekers today who apply for jobs they’re not qualified for.
It’s a job mistake that wastes both your time and the employer’s time. This is the group of candidates hiring managers prefer to avoid.
While you shouldn’t send the same application to different job vacancies, you also shouldn’t apply for it if you’re not capable of carrying out the responsibilities. For example, don’t apply for an engineering job if you have no engineering qualifications.
2. Don’t Spam Applications For The Same Company
The only exception to this rule is if the company has another job opening that’s similar to the one you were initially applying for.
But if they’re completely different and nothing alike, you’re better off leaving it out.
Not only does the ATS check for specific details. But, it’s able to detect all the job documents you’ve sent over to the company. When the hiring manager sees that you’ve applied for unrelated jobs more than once, it doesn’t leave a good impression.
3. Find The Resume Keywords
These are the words and phrases related to the job and company values that hiring managers expect.
You need to know what those keywords are in order to reach your employers. These can vary from the following:
- Job titles
- Work experiences
This is one of the main things you’ll need in your application to get past the resume scanners.
The good news is that all of this can be found in the company’s job description.
The bad news is that it can be a tedious task that takes a bit of time to work around.
Even better, get the full list of the exact words you’re missing in seconds by using an AI keyword scanner.
Here’s how it works in less than a minute:
4. Use The Required Keywords Contextually
With the list of keywords lined up, it’s now time to put them in action.
These need to be weaved into your application naturally. A good example of doing this would be when you’re going into detail in your work experience section.
Then, this will show the recruiter you have a strong understanding of the job position.
To impress your employers and take it a step further, tie it back to the company values and imply the impact you could make. It’s good practice to apply this step in your cover letter as well before having it submitted to your hiring manager.
5. Relevant Work Experience
The professional experience section is one of the most important parts of a resume.
This should be listed in reverse chronological order with only job positions that are relevant. One exception to this rule is if you have no experience. In this case, it’s better to include something than to leave the section blank.
Besides your skills and education, your experience is another influential factor that gives insight into your level of ability.
6. Extra Sections
As mentioned, the keywords employers expect could vary from different things.
For some, you could use an individual section dedicated to that specific area. Here are a few examples:
This also helps with personalizing your resume further and showcases other relevant skills. Aside from that, it’s a good opportunity to tailor your resume by highlighting what makes you uniquely qualified for the role.
7. Avoid Designs and Images
The ATS won’t pick up on resume designs including colors and images.
When it comes to adding design to your resume, it should be clean and formal.
Even though it’s tempting to demonstrate your creativity, it’s better to stick to a minimal format that’s concise. These are more effective since they get straight to the point, have more clarity, and save the recruiter’s time.
8. Maintain an ATS Compliant Format
We’ve established that the format should be simple and professional. Here are a few more tips to be aware of when it comes to formatting your resume:
- Use bullet points instead of big paragraphs
- Stick to a one-page application
- Use modern fonts between the sizes 10pt-12pt
- Write from the third-person perspective
9. Double Check for Spelling or Grammar Mistakes
You’re close to having a flawless ATS application.
But like a math or science equation, one small mistake leads to the wrong answer. Similarly, a simple grammar or spelling mistake is enough reason to be rejected.
Errors like this are avoidable but because they’re small slipups, it’s easily overlooked. One mistake can have a big impact on your recruiter’s impression and it affects the credibility your resume is trying to portray.
So, proofread your resume and edit accordingly before you hit send. It’s good to ask a friend or family member to read through it for you to ensure you haven’t missed anything out.
ATS Resume Templates to Beat The ATS in 2022
We’ve selected 4 resume templates for creating your next ATS-friendly CV to submit. Unlike a word document, each of these is designed to overcome the ATS and you’re provided with the tools that will help you secure an interview.
Or, you can find proven ATS samples from our list of 313 resumes and cover letter examples.
How to Confirm If Your Resume Is ATS-Compliant
Despite following all the job application guidelines, it’s difficult to confirm if your resume will get past the robots without any feedback.
That’s where an ATS resume checker comes into play.
After completing your application, our content analysis tool critiques how effective your resume is across several criteria. You’re also notified if it’s enough to beat the applicant tracking system.
Here’s how it looks from the inside:
Sign up and try it for free. No card details required.
Here’s what Alex had to say about Rezi after giving it a go:
“Rezi has streamlined a process that I’ve been dreading for years. Now that everything is inside one dashboard, creating and updating resumes is so easy. My resume is always up to date and looking great!”
If you want an easy solution and a faster job search to land your next opportunity, look no further.
Defeat The Bots By Using These Resume Tips!
The ATS software is a well-known resource in the world of HR and recruiting.
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to write a resume for one job position and re-use it for another company. Part of our responsibility as job seekers is to do the research, personalize each job application, and find the keywords that hiring teams are looking for.
It’s a straightforward yet time-consuming task all applicants need to go through if you were to do it manually.
But, you can make the entire process quick and easy using Rezi’s resources.