How to Beat Applicant Tracking Systems

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If you could just get the interview, you think you really could get the job. But you’ve applied and applied through those online applicant systems and it’s nothing but crickets. You either get outright rejections or utter silence. So what’s wrong with you? Don’t worry. It’s probably not you at all. It’s just that the robots reading your resume are using a code you can’t crack. Discover how these 4 secrets will help you beat applicant tracking systems (ATS).

1) Make sure your qualifications match the job requirements. One of the biggest problems hiring managers see in online applicants is that they’re just not qualified for the jobs they’re applying for. The online process makes it super easy to upload a resume and hit send. That simplicity can result in a flood of resumes for a single job opening. An ATS is designed to trim that pile to a manageable list of applicants who actually possess the skills the job demands. If yours don’t, don’t bother. On the other, if they do, you’ve got the upper hand.

2) Format your resume to the exact specifications of the application. Remember that you’re dealing with a computer and not a human. Incorrect margins, odd spacing, and crazy fonts can make the whole system go a little haywire. Don’t get your resume tossed just because you like pretty borders or are using an unusual template. Think simple and efficient. Start with your name and contact information right up at the top where even a computer can’t miss it! Don’t send your resume as a PDF unless specifically instructed to do so. And begin your “work experience” section with your employer’s name and not the dates you worked.

3) Customize the content to the job. An ATS looks for matches between what’s in the job posting and what’s on your resume and then assigns your resume—and you—a relevancy score. If you want to score well enough to get called in for an interview, think like a computer. Pull keywords and phrasing directly from the job listing. Match up as many of your skills to what the position will require of you. And don’t worry if you go a little long. The ATS doesn’t generally care about length; it’s just looking for those all important hits that tell it you’re a match made in computer heaven.

4) Proofread and then proof it again. No resume should ever have bad grammar, spelling errors, or typos. But when you’re dealing with a computer, that’s truer than ever. The easiest way for your resume to get tossed into a cyber trash bucket is to make careless mistakes.

At Charter College, we’ll help you acquire the qualifications you need to pursue your dream career. Then our career services professionals will give you advice and assistance on how to hone your skills and find a job. Check out our career-focused programs in accounting, business, healthcare, hospitality, information technology, paralegal studies, veterinary assistance, and the trades. If you’re ready to change your life, start here.