How to Ensure Your Resume Make it Pass Applicant Tracking System

How to Ensure Your Resume Make it Pass Applicant Tracking System

A resume is a formal document that a job applicant creates to itemize their qualifications for a position. A resume is usually accompanied by a customized cover letter in which the applicant expresses an interest in a specific job or organization and draws attention to the most relevant specifics on the resume. A resume is almost always required for applicants to office jobs. They are the first step taken by corporate recruiters and hiring managers to identify candidates who might be invited to interview for a position. Successful resumes highlight specific accomplishments applicants have achieved in former positions, such as cutting costs, transcending growth, increasing profits, and building out teams.

A resume might pass through several stages before getting to the employer or organization. One of such is the “Applicant Tracking System”. Recruitment managers are often faced with the malady of perusing numerous applications from job candidates for a single position. The process of screening through such applications is undoubtedly cumbersome, hectic, draining, and stressful. Hence, most hiring managers prefer to focus on resumes that successfully scale through packages like the applicant tracking system. It makes the hiring process easier, faster, and more convenient.

Getting your resume to pass an efficient and effective component of hiring practices like the applicant tracking system can boost your chances of earning an interview. The tracking system is renowned for reviewing resumes and accepting candidates that appear to be the most qualified for the position based on specific criteria. Thus, it is vital to know and learn how to navigate through the tracking systems; it helps get your resume to the recruitment agency and hiring manager respectively. This in turn will enable the recruiter to decide whether to schedule or book you for an interview. Therefore, this article will provide an insight into the meaning of an applicant tracking system, how it works, and how to ensure that your resume makes it past the tracking system.


Meaning and scope of an Applicant Tracking System

The applicant tracking system is software used and adopted by companies, employers, and organizations to find or locate the most qualified candidates for a particular role from a large pool of job applicants. Also, the applicant tracking system manages and electronically scans high volumes of resumes of job seekers, scores their qualifications based on how the position was described, and rank the applications accordingly. Relatively, the applicant tracking system has been reported to assist with the streamlining of the recruitment process by removing resumes that failed to meet the requirements and qualifications. Additionally, hiring managers depend on this system to efficiently enhance their screening process; a reported 75% of job seekers are screened out of consideration for not passing the tracking system. Subsequently, your application is more likely to be considered for an interview if you have optimized your resume for the job you specifically applied for.


A step by Step Guide on How the Applicant Tracking System Works

  • The Applicant tracking system scans submitted resumes and cover letters to find matching keywords and phrases with the job posting.
  • The tracking system then stores all the resumes that were submitted in a database for employers and human resource professionals to peruse later on.
  • Finally, the applicant tracking system ranks and highlights any application it considers to be a good match for the position.


Tips on How to Get Your Resume through the Applicant Tracking System

There is a myriad of practices that can make your resume pass through an applicant tracking system. This will increase your chances of getting hired. Below are tips you can consider to help your resume navigate and pass through an applicant tracking system and get to the recruiter;

Apply only for jobs you qualify for

One of the mistakes made by job seekers is that they apply for jobs they are not qualified for. However, your resume will easily pass through the applicant tracking system if you apply for jobs that match your qualification. In contrast, your application will outrightly be rejected by the system when you apply for a job that does not suit your qualification. Also, your experience will naturally appeal to the tracking system if you apply for a role that suits and matches your experience, work history, skills, and qualification.


Use Relevant Keywords and phrases

Use keywords and exact phrases from the job description throughout your resume. These keywords are graded both by how often they appear and the extent to which they get used in context. Therefore, you should look at the job advert and ensure that you use and adopt the same keywords in your resume and application. This will naturally highlight your experience and skills. Similarly, you can look up similar jobs to get other related words or terms. However, only include words that may pique or stimulate the interest of the tracking system and employer.


Ensure that your keywords are connected to your unique experience

Although the applicant tracking system will likely submit your resume if there are enough matching keywords with the job posting, most hiring managers are interested in seeing the connection between the keywords and your real experiences and skills in the workplace. Hence, you should use such keywords to explain how it makes you the ideal candidate for the role, whilst not forgetting to think concisely about your unique work history.


Create and include a skills section in your resume

Some assets or skills may naturally not fit into your work history section; creating a separate skills section gives you the chance to include relevant keywords in another location on your resume. This will make it easy to scan your application for terms the employer is looking for and help to ensure your resume pass through the tracking system.


Use basic language      

Use common names for your section headers (Work History, Education, and Leadership, Skills, or Referee sections). It may be tempting to use less traditional section headers, especially if you are applying for a creative position and want to show your personality. But using uncommon language on a resume can confuse the applicant tracking system.  Therefore, use the basic language and terms that are easy to understand.


Use acronyms and abbreviations as used in the job posting

Also, make sure you use only abbreviations and acronyms that were used in the job posting on your resume. Don’t abbreviate terms if they were not abbreviated in the job description. Also, an applicant tracking system may search for acronyms depending on the settings.  Therefore, it is best to look through the job posting and highlight abbreviations and acronyms as used on your resume.


Tailor your resume to each job you are applying for

Even if you are applying for two very similar positions, you should tailor your resume to each one. The job descriptions are likely to vary from each other in some way, so use any differences you find to make your resume more specific to each job. The organizations or companies are different as well; take the time to visit each organization’s website to get an idea of their values and the businesses they do. You can then incorporate what you learned into your resume to stand out.


Keep your resume simple

It is tempting to use designs and colors to make your resume more attractive. Also, most job seekers applying for graphic design roles tend to create graphically enhanced resumes. However, it is best to keep your resume as simple as possible. Although an attractive-looking resume may be interesting to the recruiter, you need to get it to pass the applicant tracking system first. Therefore, make your resume simple because some applicant tracking systems might have difficulties processing complicated resumes and might thus, place the contents wrongly.


Use basic formatting

Consider using a universally accepted basic font throughout your resume. Examples of such fonts include Times New Roman, Arial, or Georgia. Also, avoid charts or graphical elements and use bullet points instead. Relatively, you can use bolded or underlined words to bring attention to specific terms, achievements, or dates. Additionally, do not use headers, footers, tables, templates, borders, lines, symbols, shading, fancy fonts, and font colors other than black, columns, and boxes.


Submit the right type of file

After completing your resume, it is important to pay attention to how the job portal tells you to submit it. Specifically, you need to ensure that you are using an acceptable file type or format. If you submit any other type of file, the applicant tracking system is less likely to read it accurately.


Additional tips to consider

  1. Do not put distinctions (that is Ph.D., M.Sc. B.Sc., or CPA) into your header, as an applicant tracking system will pull that into your first and last names box.
  2. Also, try and have a summary section using keywords and phrases; it can be helpful.
  3. Complete all the fields in an online application even those that are not compulsory. Recruiters may use those fields as filters and if left blank, your application may not pass through the applicant tracking system.
  4. Many companies have employee referral systems that will Fastrack your application through the applicant tracking system. Therefore, ask the contact you have in the organization you are applying to submit a referral on your behalf.
  5. In addition, applicant tracking systems are starting to sync with a job applicant’s social media presence, so build yours and make sure it is professional.
  6. Write out months and years on your resume so it’s readable by applicant tracking systems.
  7. Finally, a functional resume without dates might not score high with new applicant tracking systems.

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