What Is an Applicant Tracking System? How to Write CVs for them?

  • Updated on: 25 May 2023
  • Published on: 16 Nov 2021
What Is an Applicant Tracking System? How to Write CVs for them?

Highlight: Employers opt for applicant tracking systems to reduce their workload, requiring you to create an ATS-friendly resume to ensure a 100% passing rate.

Table of contents:

  1. What is an applicant tracking system?
  2. Why do recruiters choose ATS?
  3. How does an ATS work?
  4. How to write CVs for Applicant Tracking Systems?
  5. FAQs on applicant tracking system

In today’s digital era, millions of job seekers look for recruiters and companies online. Most of it looks like a fairly simple procedure, which you can briefly sum up as follows:

  • Shortlisting prospective employers
  • Registering on job portals
  • Designing resumes and cover letters
  • Submitting applications
  • Waiting for a response

However, the actual process of finding the right employer and landing your dream job is far from being simple and straightforward. As HR continues to evolve, so do recruitment technologies.

Interesting fact: A job seeker just has 7.4 seconds to impress their employer. With most employers skimming through the applicant’s details superficially, the challenge is real. 

If you believe the first barrier to securing a job interview is a recruiter’s judgment, mind you! You are yet to see the complete picture. You may be surprised to hear that most companies implement the applicant tracking system or ATS to find the right fit for their organisation.

After all, a bad hire can cost a lot to a company. And it is no easy task to get past such applicant tracking system (ATS) filters without having prior knowledge of how to write CVs for them. 

According to the Pre-employment Testing Benchmark report:

  1. 55% of HR managers use an applicant tracking system or a Human Resource Information System (HRS) to help them recruit employees.
  2. Furthermore, 19% of the respondents do not use a system currently but plan to do so in the future. 
  3. Only 20% of those polled never considered using one.

Source: Criteria Corp

While ATS makes recruiters’ lives easier, it increases the difficulties faced by skilled workers looking for jobs. To understand the trick to beat ATS, you first need to understand what an ATS is and how it functions.

Also Read: Tips To Land On To Your Dream Job In 2021

What is an applicant tracking system?

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is an online application helping companies select the right candidate for the post. With the help of ATS, firms are able to manage their hiring and recruiting requirements hassle free.

The software helps speed up the process of recruiting and navigating huge databases of job applications. With the aid of an applicant tracking system, a resume check is completed in no time. Organisations implement ATS to gather, organise and filter the right candidates. 

With the help of applicant tracking systems, resume screening and shortlisting is no more a cumbersome process. A few notable features of the ATS software include: 

  • Interview scheduling
  • Assessment creation and comparison
  • Message dissemination
  • Universal search
  • Customisable import and export of data

Several ATS alternatives are available for various enterprises, including large, mid-size, and small businesses. Organisations can also pick their ATS preference from a variety of deployment models based on their unique business demands.

Why do recruiters choose ATS?

With ATS, recruiters get to automate manual tasks of filtering candidates. This helps companies minimise the number of repetitive tasks, providing a better recruitment experience.

Furthermore, an applicant tracking system helps in improving the quality of the hire as it follows a rigorous screening process. With the HR department and recruiters struggling to find the right talent, ATS comes in handy.

How does an ATS work?

An ATS collects resumes and keeps them in a separate database. HR managers of companies access the database when choosing the right candidate. These resumes are stored for a long period until the company finds the right fit for the position.

Applicant tracking systems function by automatically matching your resume to the accurate job description. Taleo, for example, refers to this function as ‘Req Rank’, which assigns a score to each candidate depending on how well their resume matches the job description.

Also Read: Workers Now In Search Of Better Jobs And Better Life 

How to write CVs for Applicant Tracking Systems?

To make things standardised and searchable, some ATS process the document into a digital profile. This poses a huge problem for the applicant as many ATS parsing algorithms are obsolete and ignorant, resulting in distorted or lost resume data. 

This implies that important keywords or information may not be imported. Consider what would happen if your most significant certification fell between the cracks! 

Hence, you must strive to create an ATS-friendly resume to ensure a 100% passing rate. Here are a few steps to ensure 100% passing rates in ATS.

Step #1: Use keywords that are specific to the business

Keywords form a part of your CV that interests an ATS the most. Its primary duty is to scan your CV and compare its content to the appropriate job description to find the best match. 

This implies your CV can’t be one-size-fits-all – you must customise it for each job application. Read the job advertisement attentively and explain your abilities and experience using the same terminology to ensure your CV passes successfully through the ATS lens.

Step #2: Use standard titles for your sections 

Applicant tracking systems use headings to browse through your CV, allowing the information in each part to be accurately digested and comprehended. As a result, make sure you utilise basic headers that the ATS will understand.

Step #3: Keep your resume simple and easy to read 

You must prevent the applicant tracking system from getting confused. The ATS should effortlessly explore your CV without being caught up by any complicated formatting features. 

Unfortunately, several formatting tactics that seem fantastic to the human eye may cause an ATS to become confused. So, beware!

Step #4: Avoid any grammatical or spelling errors 

Any CV with a spelling mistake will be discarded by an established company or a hiring manager, but with an ATS, your CV won’t even go that far. An ATS will have no idea what you’re talking about, unlike a person who can deduce your meaning from a misspelt word.

Step #5: Always use full acronyms and titles 

Your ATS-friendly resume must be as simple and as feasible to comprehend. This implies that you should avoid using acronyms at all costs. An ATS may not understand the difference between a company’s full name and its abbreviated version.

Include both the abbreviation and the full title in your CV to be on the safe side. 

Step #6: Do not forget to follow up with the employer

Don’t act like a machine just because the company has opted to use automation to expedite its applicant search. Finding a means to express your excitement and individuality may make an impact that lasts.

Though all large or mid-size firms are already relying on ATS, do not let that discourage your job hunt. With these simple and easy-to-follow steps, perfect your CV and land your dream job!

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FAQs on applicant tracking system

What is the applicant tracking system software?

This is a software that helps recruiters and firms find the right talent during the hiring and recruitment process.

What is the primary purpose of an applicant tracking system?

The main goal of this system is to simplify and automate the recruitment process, helping recruiters filter the right candidate from a large pool of applicants. 

How does an applicant tracking system work in the recruitment process?

An applicant tracking system works by collecting and storing resumes in its database. The company’s HR team accesses this database to select the right candidate. Hence, it is crucial to prepare an ATS-friendly resume to avoid rejections.

What are the benefits of applicant tracking systems?

An applicant tracking system brings many benefits as it:

  • Automates tedious and time-consuming processes
  • Minimises the recruitment time
  • Streamlines the entire hiring process
  • Finds the right fit for a position easily

What are the common features of applicant tracking systems?

Here are some features of ATS:

  • Distribution of job description 
  • Easy collaboration with teammates
  • Quick sharing of information on social media channels
  • Sorting and collecting resumes
  • Scheduling interviews
  • Storing resumes

ep experience.


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