Beating the Recruiter and the Applicant Tracking System

How do you beat the system ? Stick it to the man? Ok, not that system! I’m talking about the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Most resumes don’t even get reviewed by an actual person, companies use a software system to sort and collect data from job applicants. The ATS sorts through resumes and tosses the least qualified applicants and sends the best picks to the recruiter. Well if your resume isn’t up to par or formatted correctly, odds are you are getting the boot. So how can you beat the system?


Most ATS systems can read both PDF and Word; however, ATS can more easily parse through Microsoft Word files. Keep that in mind when submitting your resume online. ATS scans for headings such as work history, experience, education so it’s important to use the appropriate headings and not to get too fancy. Now I know many job seekers like using trendy designs and cool graphs and pictures, unfortunately the ATS can run into problems reading that data. You’re probably wondering, gosh what can I do….The best format to use is a hybrid resume, meaning it highlights your experiences and accomplishments in chronological order while still leaving room for summarizing your core competencies.

Using Keywords

Another way to beat the system is utilizing key words. That job you just applied for had a unique job description and qualifications. Those qualifications and job descriptions are linked to the ATS, so it’s best to use keywords that are associated with the job. Try to align your job experiences with the current job description. Try to think about the different tasks you accomplished and how you could optimize certain words.

For example, if you were a web designer or something of the sort, I’m sure you had to incorporate elements such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it wouldn't be a bad idea to include that in your work experience as well as your skills section. I could go on forever, with examples but you get the drift!


Keeping your resume clean and simple is the best way to beat the system, be sure to use the appropriate keywords and you will be on your way to the interview stage!




31 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All