A few of my good friends are in the recruitment business and we have discussions about the job market whenever we get together. Recently, in a discussion about the job market, one of my recruiter friends told me a few interesting things about Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) which is currently dominating the recruitment industry.
I had not known about this concept before. But after I got some insights from my friend, I did some more research on this topic and decided to share my knowledge with you. May be this information will help you (and your friends) in leveraging the power of Applicant Tracking Systems in landing jobs faster.
What Is Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?
An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a software application that enables the electronic handling of recruitment needs. An ATS can be implemented on an enterprise or small business level, depending on the needs of the company. An ATS is very similar to customer relationship management systems, but are designed for recruitment tracking purposes.
ATS is widely used across industries today in the recruitment process. In this digital age, it also makes complete sense for enterprises to use digital job postings, digital job applications and automated screening to save time. An applicant tracking software is designed to do exactly that job. It helps recruiters and hiring managers to be more effective and more efficient in hiring the right candidates.
How Recruiters Use Applicant Tracking Systems
More and more recruiters are using ATS, for it makes their lives so much easier in a number of ways. How about its capabilities to leverage the power of social media? Applicant tracking using ATS allows companies to more effectively manage applicant’s data and streamline the selection process through automation. It is just makes the whole recruitment process more effective.
ATS allows hiring managers as well to get direct access to the applicants’ resumés and cover letters for faster review of qualifications and screening of candidates.
A typical ATS usually contains database fields for the applicant’s name, contact information, work experience, job titles, education, employer names, and periods of employment. For each job opening in the company, the recruiter or the hiring manager searches these data fields for the keywords or phrases associated with the position by entering specific keywords.
Based on the match detected by the Applicant Tracking Systems, candidates are selected for the interview or the hiring process begins. It also means that if a candidate’s resumé is not keyword optimized according to the job requirements, even though they may be very suitable, their resumé may not be picked up by the ATS.
What You Should Know About Applicant Tracking Systems
Having an online business, I know how important keywords are when it comes to optimizing my content for search engines. It is very fascinating to know that job seekers also need to pay attention to keyword optimization within their resumés while applying for a job to really leverage the power of Applicant Tracking Systems in their favor.
ATS is a system which ranks resumés based on their keyword density and phrase density. It also allows recruiters and hiring managers to search among candidates from ATS database based on keywords/phrases to identify the most eligible candidates for the position. They do not necessarily see your complete resumé until you are called for an interview. They may only see a report of your skills and experiences based on the search results for screening.
So, if your resumé is not optimized for the position in question, you will not rank well and chances are, you may not be selected for an interview.
So, how do you make sure your resumé is picked up and ranked well for the position you are applying?
Here are some important steps you need to take as a job seeker when you are applying for an open position for optimal results in ATS:
1. Keyword Optimize Your Resumé Based On Job Requirements
It means you need to read the job requirements posted a couple of times to understand what the prospective employer is looking for. If you think your skills and work experience meet the job requirements, tailor your resumé to the specific job requirements referenced in the posting.
Your resumé should be keyword optimized well enough to emphasize your relevant experience and skills in the areas that are critical to that position. Do not submit a generic resumé because that may not even get you picked up by the Applicant Tracking System.
Your resumé should be tailored according to the keywords and phrases used in job requirements frequently in the important sections so ATS will pick up your resumé when it does the screening on your profile for ranking applicants.
2. Provide Your LinkedIn Profile Link Along With Resum
Along with your resumé, it’s important that you also provide the URL of your LinkedIn profile so recruiters can get more information about you from your LinkedIn if you get selected as a good candidate for the position for which you are applying.
That also means you need to have a good LinkedIn profile with your work experience, endorsements and other relevant information about your professional life. Believe me or not, LinkedIn plays an important role in your job search.
3. Always Submit Your Detailed Resum In Word Format
Some Applicant Tracking Systems are not very good at reading PDF documents correctly. Therefore, why take chances? You will be better off having a Word format resumé which is easy to read and interpreted by most systems.
Go ahead and create a well keyword optimized, detailed resumé with as many details as possible about your skills, work experiences, certifications and any other additional information that may help you land that job. Create it in a Word document format and submit. ATS will scan your entire resumé and prepare its database for search. So, the more details you have, the better chances you’ve got.
4. Avoid Using Graphical Components In Your Resum
Just like any search engines, Applicant Tracking Systems can’t read graphical elements. You don’t want to use tables, pictures or special effects in your resumé because it may confuse the applicant tracking software.
Applicant tracking is a process where a software does the job and so, you want to feed it the right stuff so it can produce the results you want. The more text based resumé you submit, the better chances you have to be ranked well by the ATS.
5. Follow The Standard Resum
This is another area you want to be careful when dealing with Applicant Tracking systems. It so happens that some of us refer to our work experience as “Professional Experience” or something along those lines.
Unfortunately, applicant tracking software might completely skip that section because it didn’t understand what you meant. Most applicant tracking systems understand work experience as “work experience”. So, you want to call it your “work experience” only and not something else if you want make sure that every ATS does take this section under consideration.
Along the same lines, it’s important to ensure that your resumé follows the standard format of laying out the details. For example, your work experience should begin with your employer’s name followed by your job title and then dates. The order shouldn’t be reversed because it may confuse the ATS. You want to keep it simple.
An application tracking software is not only helpful for recruiters and hiring managers but also a powerful tool job seekers can leverage to land jobs much faster (if they are qualified.) However, it all begins with correctly formatting and keyword optimizing your resumé according to the job requirements.
You need to understand that application tracking system is just software. You need to feed it with the right kind of information through your resumé so it can help you get in front of the interviewer. Many people have found success with these techniques and I hope you (or someone you know who is looking for a job) will benefit from this information as well.
What role do you think (or you have experienced) LinkedIn plays in the recruitment process? How much importance would you like to give to your LinkedIn profile as a job seeker?
Please share your thoughts (and if you have any questions) in the comment section. You can click here to go to comments. Thank you kindly!