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You may never have heard the term Applicant Tracking System (ATS), but it’s something you need to know about, because when you apply for a job over the internet your resume is probably being read by an ATS. An ATS is a computer program that scans, reads and selects resumes of potential candidates before a human ever sees it in order to save employers time.
This technology is great for employers, but it brings about challenges for the candidate. As a job candidate you need to understand how ATS works to keep your resume from being skipped over.
Know The Keywords And Use Them
A keyword is a word or phrase that indicates the content and relevance of a document. If you are applying for an “administrative assistant” role, then you want those exact keywords in your resume. You want to be sure that they appear a couple of times in the best way to represent your experience. You don’t want to overstuff your resume though, for that can work against you. Resist the urge to use them too much though, and this will work to your favor with ATS.
Keep It Simple And To The Point
Your resume needs to be simple yet informative. It needs to speak to the experience that you have, but not go overboard. It’s about finding that fine balance of sharing your experience without trying to sugar coat it.
Do not use graphics. If you add in graphics your resume is less likely to get picked up by ATS. You even want to keep in mind that too many fonts in MS Word can cause problems.
Don’t Go For A “One Size Fits All” Resume
There is a tendency to want to use the same resume for every job that you apply for—but don’t make this mistake! If you go for a generic resume this can really work against you. It may not have pertinent keywords or experience that you want to get picked up for this specific role you are applying to.
If your experience changes or if you are applying to something different, then you need an updated resume for that. Generic resumes that you try to push over and are more likely to be ranked lower by ATS. This is a fast way to get put at the bottom of the pile.
Take Time To Research the Job
Take time to search the job description for keywords so that you can customize your resume for your target job. Anything that you can do to customize your resume for the position you are applying for will increase your chances of having your sesame selected by ATS for review by an actual human being who may call you in for an interview.