By now you’re probably familiar with the role software can play in the application process for an open position. Gone are the days of going door to door hand delivering your resume to companies in search of a new job. In today’s digital age, not only is it assumed that you must apply for a position online through a company website or job board, but that a company is likely using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). An ATS is a tool used by companies to organize, filter, and rank candidates for an open job. With such a disparity between qualified job seekers and open jobs, employers use an ATS to help narrow their options to candidates that have the right keywords, phrases, and work experience designated in the job posting. Here are a few tips you can use to help get past an ATS:
- Don’t put images or charts on your resume as they likely will cause havoc with the formatting of the document once it is screened by the ATS. Some folks still include a headshot on their resume but this is considered outdated and unnecessary for nearly all professions.
- Carefully read the job description for the position you are applying to. Look for keywords and phrases that fit your experience and use the same language on your resume before submitting. An ATS scans resumes for keywords related to the position and the more matches you have, the higher of a rank you will receive against your job seeking competitors.
- Most ATS scanners have specific file types they can read. Usually PDF files are not accepted and you’ll want to have a formatted Word doc or plain text file handy to submit when the time comes.
The ATS is just the first hurdle in your application, but having a resume specifically formatted with keywords will give you a boost over your competition. The goal is to get your foot in the door for an interview and from there you can let your personality and qualifications seal the deal. Good luck!