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  • Tyler Psenicska

What is ATS?

So, what is this ATS?


Robots reading your resume. Applicant Tracking Systems.


Maybe more of an oversimplification or B-movie plot, but not entirely untrue


In short, before someone looks at your resume, it is run through an approval system before it even gets read. Unfair, maybe a little, but 99% of Fortune 500 companies use this type of system and over 50% of all other businesses as well.


Applying for a job has become easier than ever, so in a perfect world ATS is used to weed-out uninterested or under/overqualified applicants. Still, you could fall through the cracks without following these basic steps.


Our best bet is to take advantage of this system, to get your resume out of robot’s grasp, and into a hiring manager’s hands.


Match the Job Description




One benefit of ATS systems is that it forces recruiters to outline the skills and the experience they are looking for.


Think of the requirements and skills like passwords you must enter to get your resume read.


So, before you upload and submit your resume, it is best to send your resume off full-equipped with all the tools to succeed.



Don’t try to trick the system! (Motherly Voice and Finger-Wagging)





If you search for tips on how to beat ATS, you are bound to find a YouTube video of a student in their dorm room showing you how to white out text in a small font on your resume.


While this is great in theory and when ATS first came into practice--now, companies are actively looking for this. Most will display all fonts in the same color automatically, so, not a great first-impression to make if you stuffed every skill from a list of “must-have job skills” on the bottom of your resume.


Make sure you are at least-kinda qualified for the role you are applying for:



I promise I am not on the robots side--these tools were implemented to help businesses get the best-suited applicants and put you in a position to succeed.


So, if a job says 5 years of experience minimum, it is probably best not to apply right out of college. Or, if a job involves performing brain surgery, flaunting that you were VP of your Investing Club may not be a good use of your time.


Once you read the basic qualifications, make sure you can hit all those in your resume, and if not, make the necessary edits to get there


File-Types: .docx or PDF




Most resume systems will tell you which format it requires.


In case not, there are two basic .docx or PDF.


Like 2 rival sporting teams, there are dozens of supporters on each side of this battle.


In short, most systems says .docx is easier to parse for these systems. However, when sending to humans, PDF tends to be the most-friendly.


The simple-solution--upload a both! Most systems allow for this and if not or unclear, it is a very reasonable question to ask a recruiting manager.


Avoid the fancy tools--robots hate ‘em




There are dozens of tools out there that will make your resume stand-out with colors, photos, and diagrams. Unfortunately, ATS systems are pretty universally anti-fun.


While that may be harsh way of putting it, these images tend to make it difficult for the system to find keywords to get your resume to the next level.


Therefore, if you want to keep the more visually appealing version of your resume as well, it is best to send separately or bring alongside a standard version to an interview


Don’t be afraid to ask a person




Didn’t hear anything on your resume? Most ATS systems have a standard declined message--I have definitely received a few examples ...So, if you have not received an email after some time it is not a bad idea to reach the HR Department.


It shows initiative and at the very least poses a better chance of your resume getting read by a person.


The 6 tips will help your resume get read by a person, and truth be told, if you are looking for your next career it is best to find a job that fits your skills. It is better to get eliminated early on, then have several interviews, a first-day, and realize you don’t know how to use the software you are an “expert” in.


As part of our professional resume services, we ask for the types of jobs you are applying to and make a perfect fit for those robots, humans, and your goals.


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