5 Things to Know About Applicant Tracking Systems

applicant tracking systems
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are an unavoidable part of the modern job search.

A majority of companies, both large and small, are filtering resumes through an applicant tracking system (ATS). This first step in the hiring process can often be the reason an applicant’s resume fails to produce successful results. If you want to know how to work with the applicant tracking systems of the modern job market, read below to learn five things you need to know about applicant tracking systems and how to “beat” them. 

What Are Applicant Tracking Systems? 

An ATS is software that provides recruiting and hiring tools for companies; their primary job is to sort through thousands of resumes. If your potential employer uses an ATS, your resume will have to be filtered through the system first before being seen by a recruiter. 

Why Employers Use Applicant Tracking Systems

Large companies can hire for several jobs at a time, and receive hundreds of resumes for each position. ATS software collects these resumes in one place and saves time for the hiring manager by automatically highlighting top candidates. ATS can help narrow the hiring pool, but good candidates without ATS-formatted resumes may slip through the cracks. 

Applicant Tracking Systems Are Everywhere

The majority of businesses are beginning to use ATS, particularly if they are of a large size. There are dozens of different ATS, including: 

  • Taleo
  • Brassring
  • ICIMS
  • Greenhouse
  • Lever
  • And many more

If you are applying through an online form, this is an ATS. Job sites like LinkedIn and Indeed contain their own built-in ATS as well. It’s hard to avoid these systems! 

How Tracking Systems Work

ATS collect and store resumes in a database accessed by hiring professionals. Recruiters can sort through the resumes in a variety of ways, including: 

  • Viewing applications: some recruiters may elect to skim each application that comes through; make sure your top skills and qualifications are easily identifiable!
  • Automatic Rankings: Taleo, for instance, will automatically rank each applicant based on how well their resume “scores” based on the job description. Then, the recruiter can focus on high-ranking applicants. 
  • Keyword Searches: a recruiter may filter resumes in an ATS by searching for critical skills and titles. Resumes that contain these keywords will filter through. 

How to Beat Applicant Tracking Systems

Many ATS algorithms are outdated and unintelligent, which can lead to resume information getting lost or distorted. There is no “trick” to beating an ATS, but there are some tips that can help boost your qualified resume: 

  • Tailor your resume to each new job description
  • Optimize for ATS search by matching your keywords to the job description
  • Use both long-form and acronym versions of keywords. For instance, both “Search Engine Optimization” and “SEO.”
  • Use a chronological or hybrid resume format
  • Don’t use tables or columns.
  • Use a traditional font like Helvetica, Garamond, or Georgia
  • Don’t use headers or footers
  • Use standard resume section headings
  • Don’t overstuff your resume with keywords; recruiters will notice this
  • Save your file as a .docx

Applicant tracking systems are here to stay; focus on crafting the best resume possible based on your skillset, and you will soon learn how to work with these systems. 

Let First Team Staffing Be Your Employment Solution

First Team Staffing, located in Baltimore, MD, specializes in recruitment and placement of professional and temporary workers. The company, founded in 1982, is now a national leader in our industry. In our 35+ years of business, First Team has remained hands-on, relationship-based, and dedicated to partnerships we forge with our clients. We are proud to help our clients achieve their goals by providing them with a flexible and qualified workforce while providing genuine career opportunities to candidates. 

First Team Staffing has offices in Baltimore, Aberdeen, White Marsh, Columbia, Bowie, and Sparrows Point, MD. We have recently opened offices in Tennessee, located in Nashville, La Vergne, and Mount Juliet. Visit us online or in-person today to start your job or employee search, or reach us by phone at 410-719-0404. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for employment advice and company updates.