An applicant tracking system (ATS) is an automated system that can help businesses manage their recruitment process and can affect your job search success. Instead of manually going through every job application, advertisers use a software package that receives the applications, which works right through to the employment stages of a new recruit. The program breaks down all of the important applicant information to select suitable candidates from the key criteria of the job advertisement.
So how does this affect your job search process?
In today’s increasingly competitive job market, it is not un-common for hundreds of applicants to apply for each role. There are larger organizations that would be in receipt of tens of thousands of applications every week. This being the case, ATS apps are becoming more common.
ATS helps the hiring firm to streamline the whole recruitment process, but it also means your application might never actually be seen by human eyes. To make sure that your resume makes it through the first automated cull, you need to follow some fundamental rules!
1. Identify and utilize keywords
Read the job description or ad and ensure you include relevant keywords in your application – but do not stuff them into areas they do not belong for the sake of it. Employers are constantly searching for specific attributes in applicants and this could include specific qualifications, experience, abilities, and even personality traits.
By reading the job advertisement or job description cautiously and making certain you cover all of the areas mentioned, your request is going to have a better chance at being selected by the ATS. You should also never presume that simply because you have a specific qualification or title, that the recruiter will know you possess a certain ability. In the case that the job advertisement mentions a necessity, be sure to be explicit about your response in your application.
2. Reference precise matches
Use precisely the same terminology as what is used in the advertisement. Spell out the acronyms and do not abbreviate words like ‘department’ or ‘manager’.
3. Take notice of the way words are written
Some examples may include plural words, abbreviations, and numbers. For instance, saying customer support rather than customer service; or customer relationship management system rather than salesforce; can affect your odds that the ATS will select you as a first match.
4. Double check your document
This should be clear, but make certain to correct all spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors before you submit your application, in addition to ensuring appropriate capitalization of words.
5. Keep the formatting basic
It is best to not include graphs, pictures or logos. It is much better to spend your time preparing good content with clearly defined sections, sub headings and bullet points, than include content that can confuse the ATS and cause it to produce a gobbledygook for your recruiter.
6. Submit your application in the preferred format
Upload your resume as a document in the preferred format as specified in the job advertisement or online application. Try not to cut and paste content wherever possible.
Follow these basic rules and you will be well-covered when a recruiter is using an applicant tracking software system for the role you wish to apply for.
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