Career Advice

11 Tips for Beating Applicant Tracking Systems

Your CV may pass through an applicant tracking system when you apply for a job before it gets to a hiring manager. The tracking system evaluates applications and approves applicants who appear to be the most suitable for the position based on a set of criteria as part of efficient and successful recruitment methods. To ensure that the recruiter receives your CV and can determine whether to set up an in-person interview, it’s critical to learn how to use a tracking system.

This article examines applicant tracking systems, their operation, and some industry standards for submitting your CV to one.

Definition of an applicant tracking system

Businesses can use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to locate the best applicants for available openings at their organization. It makes an employer’s work easier and more successful by scanning each resume and searching for keyword setsĀ and keywords. The ATS then chooses applicants who meet the requirements and possess the experience necessary to do the job for which they are applying based on this data.

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software application or platform used by employers and HR departments to streamline the recruitment and hiring process. Its primary function is to automate and centralize the management of job applications, allowing employers to efficiently manage and track the entire candidate selection process. Key features and functions of an ATS typically include:

  1. Job Posting: ATSs enable employers to create and post job openings on various job boards and their company websites.
  2. Resume Parsing: The system can automatically extract and categorize information from resumes, making it easier to assess candidates.
  3. Application Management: It collects and organizes incoming applications, including resumes and cover letters, in a structured database.
  4. Candidate Screening: ATSs can filter and rank applicants based on specified criteria, such as skills, qualifications, and experience.
  5. Communication: Many ATSs facilitate communication with candidates, including sending automated acknowledgment emails and status updates.
  6. Interview Scheduling: Some systems offer interview scheduling tools that allow employers to coordinate interviews and assessments with candidates.
  7. Collaboration: ATSs often support collaboration among team members involved in the hiring process, enabling them to share feedback and evaluations.
  8. Reporting and Analytics: Employers can generate reports and analyze data to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of their hiring processes.
  9. Compliance and Equal Opportunity: ATSs may help employers comply with equal opportunity regulations and record-keeping requirements.
  10. Integration: They can integrate with other HR software, job boards, and social media platforms to enhance the reach and efficiency of the hiring process.

Applicant Tracking Systems are valuable tools for organizations with high volumes of job applicants, as they help reduce the time and effort required to manage applications and identify the most suitable candidates for a given position. They also assist in ensuring a fair and consistent hiring process, especially when dealing with large applicant pools.

The purpose of applicant tracking systems in the workforce

Occasionally, when seeking the best applicant to fill a vacant position, a company will get dozens of CVs. It can take a lot of time to review each application separately to choose applicants for the next employment round. Recruiters frequently leverage technological improvements to make this happen because they normally prefer to devote their time interacting to with and becoming acquainted with prospects during job interviews.

They may conveniently record all the details about applicants, such as their CVs, cover letters, and contact details, in one location by employing application tracking systems. Recruiters can organize job interviews, contact applicants, and write notes during interviews after an ATS assists them in selecting the most qualified applicants.

Therefore, a tested application system is a multifaceted instrument that accomplishes two goals: it streamlines the employment process and organizes information by centralizing all of the data in one location.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) serves several essential purposes in the workforce, benefiting both employers and job seekers. Here are the primary purposes of ATS in the hiring process:

  1. Efficient Application Management: ATS streamlines the management of job applications by collecting and organizing applicant information in a centralized database. This makes it significantly easier for employers to handle large volumes of resumes and applications, reducing the administrative burden of manual sorting and filing.
  2. Improved Candidate Screening: ATS uses predefined criteria and algorithms to screen and rank candidates based on their qualifications and how well they match the job requirements. This automated screening process helps employers identify top candidates more efficiently.
  3. Enhanced Communication: ATS often includes communication features like automated email responses and status updates, ensuring that candidates are kept informed about the status of their applications. This leads to a better candidate experience and reduces the time employers spend answering applicant inquiries.
  4. Time and Cost Savings: By automating tasks like resume parsing, application sorting, and interview scheduling, ATS significantly reduces the time and resources needed to process applications. Employers can conduct more efficient and cost-effective hiring processes.
  5. Consistency and Fairness: ATS helps maintain consistency in the hiring process, ensuring that all applicants are evaluated based on the same criteria. This is crucial for ensuring fairness and compliance with equal opportunity regulations.
  6. Data and Reporting: ATS provides valuable data and reporting tools, enabling employers to analyze their recruitment processes, identify bottlenecks, and make data-driven decisions to improve hiring efficiency and candidate quality.
  7. Talent Pool Building: Over time, ATS accumulates a database of candidate profiles. Employers can use this talent pool to fill future job openings more quickly by searching for qualified candidates from past applications.
  8. Integration with Other HR Systems: Many ATS solutions can integrate with other HR and recruitment software, as well as external job boards and social media platforms. This streamlines the entire hiring process and improves the reach of job postings.
  9. Compliance and Record-Keeping: ATS can help employers comply with various regulations and record-keeping requirements, such as those related to equal opportunity and affirmative action. It provides a secure repository for relevant documentation.
  10. Scalability: ATS is scalable and can adapt to the needs of small businesses with a few job openings or large enterprises with thousands of applicants. This flexibility allows organizations of all sizes to benefit from ATS functionality.

In summary, the primary purpose of Applicant Tracking Systems is to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the hiring process, ultimately helping employers find the best candidates while reducing administrative burdens and improving the overall candidate experience.

The most effective method for submitting your CV to an applicant tracking system

Even though most application tracking systems operate automatically, there are several strategies to improve your chances of landing a job. When submitting your application using the ATS, you might want to follow the recommendations below:

1. Only apply for positions you qualify for

When uploading a CV through an applicant tracking system, the first thing to keep in mind is to only apply for positions that align with your qualifications in terms of education, experience, and abilities.

The ATS examines applications in search of the most qualified applicants, and if you cannot substantiate the necessary qualifications, the system may reject your application. Therefore, it’s crucial to provide information that’s current and pertinent to the job.

This does not, however, imply that you must possess every necessary capability to be a suitable fit for a position. The ATS ought to be able to identify your capability for performing the work well if you possess the core competencies stated as necessary in the position description.

2. Avoid applying for too many positions with the same employer.

When a candidate applies to numerous positions at the same business, the applicant tracking system (ATS) can assume that they are applying to as many positions as possible. As a result, the system might reject the applicant and flag their applications as spam, which could have some unintended repercussions.

One applicant should normally only apply for up to two positions at the same business, and they should modify their resume and cover letter every time to precisely fit the position description to avoid that. Keep in mind that employers can view your application record at any moment, including the number of open positions you have at their organization.

3. Submit a resume that is appropriate for the position.

Each time you apply for a job, update your resume to reflect the pertinent details. When the Applicant Tracking System scans your application, it may uncover recognizable details and core competencies that are crucial to the function you are looking for. Through this, you can boost your chances of being seen by the ATS.

An employer or recruiter will normally see your CV after you pass the scanning procedure and the system chooses your application. Referencing the firm and job you are looking for explicitly in your application might improve your chances of being seen by both the ATS and the recruiter. They need to see you have done your research about the organization and job you are applying for.

4. Employ keywords

The applicant tracking systems often scan applications for recognizable information like keyword sets and keywords. Utilize the same terms from the position description in a natural way to emphasize your experience and talents. Take note of the particular software, schooling, qualifications, and approaches that a job advertisement sites to find the most crucial keywords.

To ensure that the employer believes you are qualified for the position, try connecting those keywords to pertinent experiences, successes, and examples of your work. Repeating keywords throughout your application may cause the ATS to take notice of you.

5. Maintain a straightforward CV

Conventional job applications may benefit from using creative style and tone, but an applicant tracking system (ATS) is often built to recognize facts, information, and language provided simply, thus doing so may confuse.

You might think about utilizing uniform formatting and general terminology across your application to make the content simple to understand for the ATS. It’s best to utilize short phrases that immediately address the requirements specified in the position description rather than long, complex sentences. Your CV could be made easier to read and more appealing to application tracking systems by adding bullet points.

6. Add recognizable headings

Headings are frequently one of the first things an applicant tracking system scans on your application. Maintaining consistency could assist the ATS in identifying each element of your CV as pertinent to the job advertisement. You can think about using the following standard headings:

  • Contact details
  • CV objective
  • Professional experience
  • Academic History
  • Skills
  • Achievements and certificates

7. List titles and acronyms

An applicant tracking system’s parameters will determine whether it looks for entire sentences or acronyms. Although it will probably search for the longer term or phrase, it is still advisable to use both. You may use language like “Proficient in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques” as an illustration.

8. Give text precedence over graphics.

Removing graphic information from your CV may improve your chances of being spotted by the system because applicant tracking systems often analyze candidates’ submissions using text-based criteria. ATS might not be capable of processing and comprehending graphics and charts, even though they may be visually enticing to recruiters.

9. Check your resume for errors.

Before sending your application, take the time to check through your resume and cover letter several times for mistakes and spelling issues. This could assist you in making sure the applicant tracking system can recognize all of the pertinent data and keywords you specified.

If you want to double-check that your application is flawless and that you’ve taken all reasonable steps to improve your chances of being chosen throughout the recruiting process, you can think about inviting a family member or friend to do the same thing.

10. Select the appropriate file type

Typically, recruiters have asked applicants to send in DOC or PDF files of their resumes and cover letters. You can ensure that the version of your application that employers see while examining it exactly matches the version you submitted by selecting the PDF format, however, applicant tracking systems are often more suitable with the DOC format.

This information is often included in the position description, so check there if you’re unclear about which file type is suitable for the position. If it’s not, either decision is typically acceptable.

11. Add referrals

Employers and recruiters would like to hear straight from a person who is familiar with you and can attest to your work ethic. There is frequently a question on an online application asking if a present staff of the organization has recommended you for the position. If so, don’t forget to include the name of your friend or coworker here to improve your chances of getting through the applicant tracking system.


In the competitive world of job applications, mastering the art of beating Applicant Tracking Systems is a valuable skill. By following the tips outlined above, you can improve your chances of getting your resume noticed and moving one step closer to your desired job. Remember that while optimizing your application for ATS is crucial, it’s equally important to craft a compelling and well-tailored resume and cover letter that will impress human recruiters once your application successfully passes through the digital gatekeepers. With the right balance of strategy and authenticity, you can navigate the hiring process with confidence and increase your odds of landing that dream job.

It’s time to make your resume stand out if you want to be noticed. Simply follow these easy steps to make yourself stand out during the employment process.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Applicant Tracking System

  • How can you avoid being turned down by ATS?

Reiterate crucial keywords related to the position you’re looking for.

Make sure that your essential abilities are repeated to ensure that they’re picked up more than once to receive points because the ATS will be seeking to connect and score you on these words. However, don’t overdo it and stuff keywords all over the place.

  • How can I tell if my resume will be accepted by the ATS?

Your resume would not pass the ATS resume screening software test if the plain text version is missing information from your original resume, has a few of its characters saved inaccurately or seemsĀ unorganized (for example, the title for your employment history emerges in the middle of your important skills section).

  • What is ATS unable to read?


So that the ATS can swiftly scan your content for phrases and keywords, and remove photos, columns, tables, forms, text boxes, and graphics. It’s better to stay away from using photos, tables, and text boxes because the ATS might not be able to interpret the information they provide.

  • How do I optimize my resume for ATS compatibility?
    • Answer: To optimize your resume for ATS, use a clean and standard format without complex layouts, graphics, or tables. Ensure that your resume includes relevant keywords and phrases related to the job you’re applying for. Tailor your resume for each position, highlighting the specific skills and qualifications mentioned in the job posting. Save your resume in a compatible file format such as .docx or .pdf, and avoid using unusual fonts. Review the job posting and use similar language in your resume.
  • What can I do to improve my chances of getting noticed by an ATS?
    • Answer: To improve your chances of getting noticed by an ATS, focus on the following:
      • Use relevant keywords: Tailor your resume and cover letter to include keywords from the job posting.
      • Be consistent: Ensure that the information in your application is consistent with your LinkedIn profile and other professional profiles.
      • Use a professional email address: Create or use a professional email address that includes your name.
      • Complete all application fields: Fill in all required fields in the application, even if they are optional.
      • Format your resume properly: Use a simple and clean resume format with standard headings.
      • Proofread: Eliminate typos and grammatical errors from your resume and cover letter.
      • Include a cover letter: Submit a cover letter when it’s requested or allowed.
      • Follow application instructions: Adhere to all instructions provided in the job posting, such as submitting documents in a specific format.

These strategies will increase your chances of passing through the initial ATS screening and getting your application into the hands of human recruiters for further consideration.

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