Top 5 Tips to Beat Applicant Tracking Systems

system application tracking

Have you combed through thousands of job board postings and classifieds? Yes.

Revised and tailored your resume? Yes.

Sent your resume out to employers? Yes.

Heard back from said recruiters? Nope. So what’s the problem?

You might be doing everything right when job searching and applying for jobs, but all your efforts are in vain. The answer is that your application is at the mercy of an applicant tracking system (ATS) which uses a specific technology that analyzes incoming resumes based on job-specific keywords.  Infact, 72% of all submitted resumes are never seen by a human being. These devices use specific keywords to grade your resume using a scale of 0 to 100. If your resume fails to score high enough, you could end up being eliminated from the hiring process.

How do you go about it? This article will explain the top 5 steps to take in order to overcome application tracking systems:

Find the right keywords

As a first rule of thumb, when applying for a job, never forego reading and familiarizing yourself with the job description, and know what the employer needs. The application tracking system will particularly screen keywords that were included in the job description. So get the job description, search for specific recurring keywords, industry terms, buzzwords, acronyms, abbreviations etc and insert them into your resume where necessary.

If you are not sure which terms or keywords to use, collect five other job postings for a similar position and add any new keywords that weren’t in your original list.

Write your resume from scratch

Building your resume from scratch will work to your benefit. This is the ideal approach to follow because everything you have done before is probably wrong. Don’t overuse embellishments such as images, shading, borders and fancy stuff like that. Chances are the software won’t be able to decipher these elements and it may reject your resume straightway.

Also, don’t experiment with different font styles. Use a computer-friendly font such as Arial, Tahoma, Georgia and Impact.

Refrain from using special characters like arrow bullets. Using the conventional bullet point is fine. The point here is to avoid the risk of confusing the tracking system.

Most important information must go on top

Be sure to include key contact details such as your email address and phone number and place them in at the top in central, clear view. Include your most current skills and only a few (perhaps four) accomplishments and personal qualities. Accompany each with the name of the company for whom you worked for, your role, dates you started and left etc.  All other details should be saved for the interview.

Start adding keywords

Now you are ready to add keywords. But don’t start spreading them unreasonably. Instead, add them to your resume naturally. A smart way to do that is to take an active approach using this formula:

Action verb + a keyword + a fact or figure that represents the outcome of your action

For example:  Implemented sales strategies that increased the company’s revenue by 50%.

Avoid sending out a keyword-stuffy resume and use only those specialised or technical skills, competencies, certifications and degrees that really matter to the employer.

Edit and then edit again

Just before sending out your resume, go back and proofread it for potential errors. A single misspelling of a keyword could prevent the tracking software from noticing it.

Bear in mind that every job application is different, therefore, each job requires a different set of keywords.  Make your resume as customised as possible for every job, then add the right keywords after doing thorough research and there’s no doubt that you will ultimately score your dream job!