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Who cares about ATS? You do! ATS can drastically affect your job search process, if not already. It’s the gatekeeper you don’t know about. What is ATS? It stands for Applicant Tracking Systems. It’s a recruitment software used by 1000’s of companies, especially members of the Fortune 500, to track candidates during the application process. That’s not all they do. They also use these systems to narrow down their candidate search. As little as 2% of applicants get called back for an interview even with the average of number of resumes per job at around 250. How is that possible? Because the majority of the resumes that are scanned by these systems get rejected. Only a small amount are actually seen by a living, breathing recruiter. So, now do you think you should care more about ATS? Of course! Here are 6 simple techniques on how to break through these strict systems and have a resume that will be seen. 

Grammar is Gold. Make sure your resume has no spelling errors or grammar issues. You not only get dinged for that but it’s not a good look. You can make your resume bound for the trash can, if you aren’t careful. On a side note, not too many people know this but if you are using a lot of abbreviations, you can get hit for those too. Spell out the word in its entirety and put the abbreviation in parentheses.

Keyword Optimization. If you don’t have enough keywords related to your experience in correspondence with the job you are applying for, then your resume might get rejected. If you only focused on listing basic job duties but ignored the skills that you acquired to do that job, you might find yourself staring at a rejection notice in your inbox. No matter how polite it might sound, it still hurts your feelings a bit. Well, maybe a little more than that. Don’t be shy about the skills that you gained in your work. List the ones that are relevant to what you are applying for. If you are a certified Zumba instructor, way to go! Zumba is great but if you are applying for an accounting job, what does A have to do with B? See my point?

Skills Alignment. If you are applying for a position that you don’t have the skills for, do yourself a favor and don’t apply for it. ATS can pick up on the charade. Just stuffing keywords in there to try to beat the system will not work either. It’s smarter than you think. Make sure that whatever you are applying for is a match for what you actually know how to do.  

Graphics. Even though your gorgeous selfie got 200 likes on Facebook, it does not belong on your resume. There is nothing wrong with having a creative resume that will only be distributed via email or face-to-face, but when you are posting for a position online, graphics such as pictures or other images can cause errors on the document and result in the resume being unreadable in certain areas. Ever go to an interview, offer a copy of your resume and they say they already have it? Then as you happen to look down at their desk, you see some crappy version of your document with symbols and squares all over it? Oh, yes. That is what happens. A plain text resume will do just fine. If you get on board with a staffing agency, make it easy on your recruiter and give them something they can distribute.

Absolutely No Text Boxes or Tables. Applicant Tracking Systems cannot properly scan resumes that contain these elements. They often come up blank. Use a text-only format. It can still look really nice without you making it super fancy.

Leave That Cute Font Behind. Isn’t that script font just adorable? How about those fonts that look like they were written by a calligraphy artist? Totally cute and totally not necessary. Fancy fonts not only cause issues with ATS, but they can often come off as unprofessional. Stick to the basics Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, you get the point.

ATS requirements can be a bit of a pain at times, but it’s necessary for you to know as much about them as you can because they do affect you. The best thing to do is to pair up with a great staffing agency that can keep you apprised of these issues and guide you during your job search process. If you need assistance with finding a career that fits your needs, contact us here at Nextaff. We understand your dilemma and are here to help you. We have the resources you need to get you the career you desire.

If you or someone you know is looking for a job, check out our job board below!

Based on this article we recommend you read: Thank You For Applying-but..How to Cope With Being Turned Down for a Dream Job3 Tips To Get Your Resume Read, and 4 Interview Tips to Stand Out.

NEXTAFF is a temporary staffing agency devoted to our clients and candidates throughout the United States. For more job tips and ideas, contact us. We are always hiring, so if you or someone you know is looking for work, check out our job board below and apply today! We are able to service all your staffing agency needs with local staffing offices in Raleigh-NC, Overland Park-KS, Topeka-KS, Kansas City-MO, Dallas-TX, Gulf Coast-MS, Phoenix-AZ, Miami-FL, and Harrisburg-PA.