What You Need to Know about Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Software


We have all heard the media report that our president wants the country to return to normal with businesses and schools opening despite the raging pandemic. But, is it really so easy to return to work? Many of our congressional representatives believe job seekers want to stay home because they make more on unemployment than they would working. I am not trying to make a political statement but the data shows this isn’t true. As many of you know, if your employer asks you to return to work and you refuse you lose your unemployment benefits. What they seem to be overlooking is the fact that with social distancing and the CDC recommending that Americans stay home the number of jobs in certain industries have been slashed by 50% or more.

My goal is to help American families avoid this financial devastation. It is important to remember that a job seeker who has been laid off and was previously being paid $100,000 per year is losing $1,923 per week in wages. Understanding the hiring process is key to success in this fiercely competitive job market. Recruiters and hiring managers are often receiving hundreds of resumes per day for the few jobs available. As of April 1st, 2019 Indeed.com had 120 million resumes in their database. Your resume absolutely must be compatible with the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software used by hiring managers.

In my 15 years of resume writing, I have found that it isn’t necessarily the most qualified candidate that wins the job but rather the candidate that knows the most about professional branding and formatting their resume for compatibility for this software.

What can be done to protect you and your family from this in the future?

The first step is understanding the hiring process. Not only is today’s job market far more competitive than ever before but the hiring process has also been automated. The first screening of your resume is not always done with human eyes but rather a computer.

I don’t care who you are or how qualified you may be. When your resume is being screened by Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software you have no more of an advantage than anyone else if you are using the old-school, one-size-fits-all resume template.

Why? Because the simple failure to design your resume for compatibility with this technology is often enough to eliminate you from consideration. Combine this with weak marketing skills, the inability to deal with employment gaps or age discrimination, or a limited understanding of social networking you have the recipe for financial disaster!

How are today’s 21st Century resumes different from the old-school resumes of the past?

Unlike the one-size-fits-all resumes of the past today’s resumes are targeted to the specific industry / job you seek. The Applicant Tracking System software employers use scans your resume for common industry related terms (keywords). The more hits the software finds the higher you will rank above your competition.

In addition, the old-school resumes of the past were very task-focused. Why waste the readers’ time telling them what they already know? Instead, focus on quantifying your accomplishments whenever possible. Describing your previous career successes proves to the hiring manager that you are not only qualified to do the job but you excel over your competition making you worth the additional salary that you may request.

Creating a high-impact resume that ensures you stand out from your competition can be time consuming but you will be reminded every time you cash your paycheck that it was worth it.