Looking to start a new career with that dream company you’ve been wanting to work for?
It’s highly likely they’ll be using applicant tracking systems to review your resume. After all, the hiring manager doesn’t have the luxury of time to spend hours reviewing every resume individually.
So, how to beat the applicant tracking system?
That’s exactly what we’ll be going through in this guide. If you find yourself constantly asking how to beat the ats and reach the interview phase, keep reading on.
We’ll be answering everything you need to know in this guide.
What Is An Applicant Tracking System?
An applicant tracking system is a recruiting software employers use to find the best candidates for a job opening. It’s a way for the hiring manager to assess your resume in the quickest way possible to identify whether you’re qualified for the role or not.
It scans for certain requirements to see if you match the job description, e.g. keywords (we’ll look at this in more detail in the next section).
For recruiters, it saves both time and money.
Reviewing each online job application is a time-consuming task. Unfortunately, not every application is worth reading and not all employers are willing to sacrifice restless nights for it.
And, that’s why companies automate their hiring process by using an applicant tracking system.
To narrow down the candidate list and make the selection easier, the ATS will filter out the qualified applicants from the unqualified applicants. By doing so, the hiring manager can spend their time focusing on the resumes that are worth their time.
In other words, the applications that have passed the ATS test.
What Do Applicant Tracking Systems Look For?
The applicant tracking system (ATS) will scan your resume to check it against the job description.
They want to know that you’ve taken the time to do the background research on the company needs. If you don’t meet the requirements set by the hiring manager, (e.g. you don’t match the skills or keywords), you won’t make it past the first stage.
To be more precise, an applicant tracking system will pick up things on your resume such as:
- Simple resume format
- Relevant keywords
- Relevant work experience
- Clear headings
- Grammar and spellings
- Resume font
Features such as your resume font and grammar are more important than you think.
If the resume format is off or there’s a minor error with spelling, (e.g. you’re not using a plain text resume format), then you’ll quickly be sent to the list of rejected candidates.
With this in mind, it’s important your resume meets not only the ATS content expectations, but also the technical factors.
It’s another reason why Rezi has one of the best ATS resume templates around.
Now that we have a good idea of what applicant tracking systems are looking for, let’s answer the big question.
How To Beat The Applicant Tracking System?
There are multiple ways to go about and outsmart the applicant tracking system. If you’re using a hack like Rezi’s ATS resume builder, then you won’t need to worry about any of this since we handle all of that for you.
For now, let’s look at each step you need to take to ensure you beat the ATS test so you can get hired for your next career.
Only Apply To The Job If You’re Qualified For It
It might sound ridiculously simple, but there are loads of job seekers out there who make the same mistake.
This is the group of candidates the hiring managers want to avoid at all cost.
What happens is, applicants will send applications to multiple jobs even if they’re not qualified for it. They’ll send the same resume to different vacancies even if the requirements are outside their expertise.
It’s a waste of both your time and the employer’s time, so don’t do it.
For example, don’t make an application for an engineering job if you have no engineering qualifications.
The applicant tracking system makes it obvious whether or not you’ve done the research. Aside from that, it’ll simply match your resume to the job requirements so they’ll easily find out whether or not you’re a capable candidate.
Before you even decide to make an application for a job opening, make sure you’re actually qualified for it.
Only Apply to One Job Per Company
The only exception to this rule is if the company has another job opening that’s very similar to the one you were initially applying for.
However, if they’re two completely different jobs and nothing alike, just leave it out.
The applicant tracking system can detect all the applications you’ve made for their company. When the hiring manager sees that you’ve applied for unrelated jobs more than once, it doesn’t leave a good impression.
Implement The Relevant Keywords
This is one key reason why doing the background research is so important.
You need to know what skills or keywords employers are specifically looking for. There’s a good chance they’ve set the applicant tracking system to identify whether these can be found on your resume or not.
How do you find out what they’re looking for?
Analyze the job description. Look at what specific skills employers are looking for, the ones that the company currently need. If none of these are shown on your resume, it’s a red flag and signals your resume isn’t relevant.
Link Your Keywords When Going Into Detail
When you’re going in depth about a specific skill or work experience and describing it, that’s the best time to connect your keywords.
But, don’t force it - make sure it naturally flows well.
This allows the hiring manager to pick up how valuable you are as an asset by seeing what you’re capable of. Don’t just label your keywords and skills, talk about how you’ve used them to deliver a positive result.
Doing so gives employers insight to how exactly you’ve applied your skills. And, showing them does a lot more than just telling.
As the saying goes, it’s better to “show, not tell”.
Include Relevant Work Experience
In general, your work experience is one of the most important resume sections.
Hiring managers are keen to know how familiar you are with the ropes and if you understand what you need to be doing.
Do you want to maximize your chances of getting hired?
Then, tailor all of the resumes you send for every job and company you apply for. When you’re job hunting, it’s not enough to have just one resume. You also need to make sure you’re updating them as you grow along the way of your professional journey.
This is one way to ensure everything on your resume is relevant to the company values. It also shows them you’re the ideal person for the job.
Forget Graphic Designs or Images
Colour and images are a huge no when it comes to ATS resume formats. It’s not something the application tracking systems are going to pick up.
Forget trying to look fancy or complex, it doesn’t improve your chances of getting hired. What’s more important is to have clarity, so aim for simplicity instead.
An easy solution would be to use Rezi’s ATS resume templates.
Their ATS resume design is kept simple and clean as it should be. Employers would prefer reviewing a job application that’s readable, straightforward and easy to consume.
Use Bullet Points
Talking about ATS resume formatting, bullet points are a great leverage.
When you’re going into detail under any resume section, bullet points make your resume highly readable. It can work and benefit you in more ways than you realize.
Proofread & Edit Your ATS Resume
At this point, you might be extremely close to having a flawless ATS resume.
You’ve followed all the job application instructions and you’ve included everything the hiring manager wants to see.
Except, for one small mistake that ruins the perfect answer - your spelling and grammar.
Small errors like this are unforgivable. It’s such a tiny slipup yet it can have the biggest impact on your resume. A simple spelling mistake removes all the credibility or authenticity your resume application might have portrayed.
You can always check your resume more than once.
However, once you’ve sent it off there’s no going back. Before sending off your ATS resume, be sure you’ve double checked it.
How Do I Know If My Resume Is ATS Friendly?
Firstly, you need to follow all the job application guidelines.
When the hiring manager or the job description requests for specific resume sections or for a specific format, then you need to follow. Otherwise, they won’t spare a second to consider you as a potential employee.
If you’re creating your resume using Rezi’s ATS resume templates, you’ll be guided step by step to ensure your application is ATS-friendly.
For example, here’s The Rezi Score in action:
When using Rezi’s ATS resume builder, The Rezi Score will critique how effective your resume is across 23 criteria points. When getting the feedback, you’ll also be noted on whether or not it’s enough to beat the applicant tracking system for the company you’re applying to.
Still, are you worried you’re not meeting the ATS keywords recruiters are expecting? Take a look at the video below:
Rezi has multiple features than just The Rezi Score and the ATS keyword targeting tool. Our ATS resume builder includes a real-time content analysis and an expert review so that you can rest assured you’re meeting all of the expectations of your employers.
To summarise everything discussed on how to beat the applicant tracking system, you need to:
- Only apply to the job if you’re qualified for it
- Only apply to one job per company
- Implement the relevant keywords
- Link your keywords when going into detail
- Include relevant work experience
- Forget graphic designs or images
- Use bullet points
- Proofread & edit your resume
Applicant tracking software is a notorious tool in the world of HR and recruiting. It’s the main reason why it’s become an infamous topic to many job seekers who can’t seem to land the job they want.
That’s why we create these guides so you have the answers you need when it comes to building an ATS resume.
The best thing about it, you can get started with the ATS resume builder at no cost - it’s free for you to try.
If you want an easy solution to beat the applicant tracking systems no matter what company or job you’re applying to once and for all, click below to start building your ATS resume with Rezi now!