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Applicant Tracking System: What Is It and How Does It Work? 💻

If you thought your resume landed straight into a recruiter’s inbox as soon as you sent it, think again! Gone are the days when you could just hand your resume in and expect it to be seen by a human being. With so many steps in the hiring process, human resources had to have help. This help comes from the applicant tracking system (ATS).


What is ATS?


An ATS actually doesn’t just process resumes. Depending on the company using it, it can also help manage resumes and collect data from job boards.


All the biggest job boards (you know the ones—one of them rhymes with “winked in” 👀) partner with software providers that help them scan applications and move data.


How Does ATS Work?


When handling resumes, ATS will look for information like your education history and job titles. It will try to match keywords from the job posting to the content of your resume.


If your resume meets the standards set by the ATS, only then will it be sent to a recruiter or hiring manager. Many resumes don’t usually get past the ATS—but that’s not something you need to worry about!


How Can I Get Past ATS?


There are ways to get your resume to sail through ATS and we’ve got you covered! Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Make sure you label sections clearly. Important sections like your education history, professional experience, certifications, and skills need to be labeled accordingly, and clearly!

  2. Keep it texty! And by that, try not to use fancy headers, graphics, tables, and such. Many ATS will just process text and skip over other shapes. Avoid excessive formatting too, and stay with easy-to-read fonts like Arial or Calibri.

  3. Use keywords. Now you’ll want to optimize your resume with keywords. That just means you have to read the job description and apply role-specific terms you find there into your resume.

  4. Use the right file type. File type? Yes, down to the right file type! You may want to keep your resume as a PDF to keep looking all crisp, but most ATS don’t read PDFs. To play it safe, upload your resume as a .doc or .docx version.

Here at Wordsmith, we’ve got resume tips on resume tips to help you craft your own! Let us help you get your career kicked off with the perfect resume. Set up a call now and tell us what you need!

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