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The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) And How You Can Beat It!

Updated Feb 18, 2021

by Staff Writer


3 minutes read

Have you heard about the Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

Most probably one of the main reasons your cv/resume wasn't considered for the job.

The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) And How You Can Beat It!

Recruiters and hiring managers no longer screen your application manually, they use ATS to shortlist candidates.

Is your cv/resume compatible with ATS? Don't worry, we'll help you understand how you can optimize your resume for ats software.

Let's get started.

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

ATS is a software that sits behind all the job boards you use to save your cv online and send applications. It helps recruiters to collect, sort, scan, and rank applications.

Back in the days, people who are looking for jobs used to submit their cv/resumes traditionally in the office or post the actual paper document to the office of the hiring manager.

But the ATS tool has simplified and automated the entire hiring process. A job post may receive thousands of submissions but the employer is only receiving the most to be considered-qualified candidates based on the ATS ranking algorithm.

So your CV must be ATS compliant - no matter what.

How Does ATS Work?

The Applicant Tracking System is a very smart tool recruiters love to use.

When the employer posts a position at any job board, the ATS will find the perfect match for the post.

How?

It'll read and scan your cv for specific keywords to determine your suitability for the job post. Your cv will be compared with the content of the post, if it doesn't match, then your application fails.

So, if your cv is not well written, formatted and optimized for ATS, it won't make it through to the interview stage.

It's as simple as that.

Optimize CV/Resume for ATS

How can you ensure your cv is fully compliant with ATS?

It's not easy, to be honest with you.

1. Use the right keywords

This is why we always recommend creating a cv for a specific job post. You'll need to read with understanding the description of the job post.

Recruiters spend a lot of time writing those job descriptions in order to find a suitable candidate for the role they want to fill.

Once you have an understand of who they're looking for, if you have the skills required, simply use the right keywords in your specific to that role.

This will help distinguish your application from thousands of other submissions.

2. Formatting

You cannot afford any spelling or grammar mistakes in your cv, the ATS will quickly pick it up and put you back of the list.

You need to ensure a heading is different from the content and roof-read your cv as many times as you can.

3. Design

The layout and design of your cv are more important nowadays than ever.

Keep your cv layout minimal and short.

If you don't know how to design your cv, check out our free templates editable in Microsoft Word.

That'll save a lot of time and money.

Mistakes To Avoid

We mentioned the use of job description keywords in your cv but that doesn't mean you must stuff your cv content with keywords.

The Applicant Tracking System software is very smart and you can't cheat.

If you overload your cv with keywords, your application won't pass the ATS algorithm.

You also want to avoid these formatting mistakes:

Abbreviations - Never shorten your words, the ATS systems aren't build to read acronyms. You'd want to use the full word for your work experience, skills, and educational background.

Font types - Avoid fancy fonts if you want your application to pass the ATS system. It was found that Times New Roman and Arial are the most reliable to pass ATS.

You cannot lie in your cv, this would be very bad for you in terms of ATS. If an employer found that you lied and blacklist you, other companies will not find you when they search for candidates on a job board.