Having Nightmares About Applicant Tracking Software (ATS)? Here’s What Will Fix That.
One of the top concerns of jobseekers in 2018 is this vague, impersonal, robotic smoke-monster known as the Applicant Tracking System. For those who have not heard tell--whilst sitting around the campfire--of ATS, it is a software in use by 97% of large companies and 80% of small/mid-size companies to scan incoming resumes and determine whether they are worthy of moving on to human scrutiny.
While many job hunters are aware of ATS software, they don't have a strong grasp on how it works or how to ensure that their resume won't anger the system. For example, during a recent resume evaluation for a client, I noticed that his entire resume was formatted into text boxes. It looked fantastic, but when I converted it to a plain text file (which is essentially what an ATS will do to parse the document), the text all disappeared except for a few random symbols. As a result, this client, who had an extremely impressive background in Digital Forensics and Cyber Crime Prevention, was being rejected left and right because his resume looked like a blank piece of paper to the ATS software.
How to Fix Your Format for ATS
There is a LOT of talk about the importance of keywords for ATS, and it is absolutely true--but having a resume format that can be successfully "read" by ATS is also key. You might have the best content in the world, but if your format is not compatible with the software it won't make any difference. If the ATS software cannot comprehend the resume format, it will skip to the next
A few common format blunders that you can quickly correct:
-Do not put important information into headers/footers, it will be invisible to some ATS versions