Remember those pesky tracking systems we discussed in our last post? We are here to tell you more about them and how to avoid having your resume end up in the NO pile. An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a software application that assists employers and hiring managers with their recruiting efforts. In this day and age, where time is money, people responsible for hiring do not have the time to read hundreds of resumes. Instead, they direct applicants to apply online…through their ATS. The ATS literally tracks and organizes the people who submit their applications, ranking them from most to least appropriate for the job.

But, how does it work? Well, like how Google will produce results based on the key words you entered into the search bar, the ATS will produce results based on the number of key words that were included in the resumes. And, just like how Google ranks the produced results from most relevant to least relevant based on your suggested key words, so does the ATS.

How do you know which words are key words? Easy! Here is an idea: Whatever job you are seeking, let’s say warehouse worker for an example, print out at least five to 10 warehouse worker job postings. Go through the job postings fastidiously with a highlighter noting all of the skills, attributes, education, work experience, and certifications they require that you possess. After you have taken the highlighter to the first three or four job postings, you will begin to see the same requirements and assets again and again. THESE are your key words! It starts to become obvious what warehouse worker employers are seeking in an ideal candidate! After you have gone through all of your job postings, essentially you want to extract all of the highlighted content (your key words) and include them in your resume. These highlighted key words from the job postings, which are now in your resume, are precisely what the ATS has been designed to seek out in order to successfully rank and organize the applicants. And guess what? Your resume ought to rank much higher now as a result. Good work! Now, something to note, not all ATS’s can read certain file types; thus, tune in to our post next Monday about file formats.