How Applicant Tracking Systems Will Affect Your Job Search

The use of Applicant Tracking Systems is becoming more common in today’s hiring arena but what exactly are Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)?  Why are they used?  Who uses them?  And how do they affect your job search?

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

Applicant Tracking Systems, or ATS for short, are software programs that are designed to process and weed out large amounts of incoming resumes and job applications.  A hiring manager can set parameters and keywords that they think qualified applicants will include in their resumes.  If your resume doesn’t include the right content and keywords your resume will not be considered.

Why are Applicant Tracking Systems Used?

The use of ATS greatly limits the number of qualified applicants a hiring manager needs to consider.  ATS reduces the burden of having to read endless amounts of resumes to find the veritable needle in the haystack.  Applicant Tracking Systems are also used to track where candidates are finding job postings.

Who Uses Applicant Tracking Systems?

You might think that Applicant Tracking Systems are only used by large corporations, however this is not the case.  More and more, small and mid-sized companies are using ATS to improve the efficiency of their hiring practices.

How Will Applicant Tracking Systems Affect Your Job Search?

Simply put, if you don’t have the right keywords, phrasing, or content in your resume, your resume will not pass and will not see the likes of the hiring manager.  There are many things you can do to get your resume past ATS for consideration including researching job postings and incorporating specific keywords in a job posting.  We generally don’t recommend having more than one version of your resume floating around during a job search so optimize your cover letter to make it job or position specific, again, using keywords that you think a hiring manager will be looking for.


While it may seem daunting to craft a cover letter and resume that will get past ATS screening on your own, taking your time and putting in the preparation can make the difference.  Working with a professional resume writer can also greatly increase your chances.


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