How To Beat The Applicant Tracking System? (With 2021 Relevant Examples)

With the advent of technology and growing dependence on various software, slowly and steadily, some of the key procedures have gotten automated. Screening of candidates in the first round of interviews is not an exception, and for this purpose, a special system is being developed known as an applicant tracking system.

Nowadays, an applicant tracking system(ATS) is being used by most organizations, to automate their screening process. These systems use several keywords to shortlist a candidate from a whole bunch of applications received for a particular post. In other words, this simply means, that the resume you have crafted will no longer be reviewed, analyzed, and shortlisted by human managers, rather they have been replaced by robots!!

But, nothing is impossible in this world, as evident with the formation of these systems only, beating them is easy with the below mentioned tips.

Ways In Which You Can Pass Unscathed Through An Applicant Tracking System

1) Mention In Your Resume The Keywords Which Highly Relates To The Job Applied For

As discussed earlier, keywords play an important role in passing through the applicant tracking systems. These systems analyzes the keywords and matches them with the profile on offer. Hence, it is pivotal to select and use keywords, that are highly matching and relates to the job description.

Every organization provides a detailed job description while advertising its vacancy. Your resume must be tailor-made for that vacancy in a way, that you pick and use maximum keywords from the job description itself. This would be the best way, to screen yourself from the probing eyes of an applicant tracking system.

This would also mean, that from now on, you would have to prepare a separate resume for each vacancy that you wish to apply for. Gone are the days, when one size used to fit all, that is, you used to submit one standard resume while applying for all the similar jobs.

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Understand this through a case study mentioned below:

Mr. XYZ is an accountant working with TTM Technologies Ltd. as a senior accounts manager. He recently came across a vacancy, from UUM Infrastructure Ltd. looking for a financial analyst. He wishes to apply for the same.

Through an online portal, Mr. XYZ extracted the job description of the position advertised by UUM Infrastructure Ltd. which is as follows:

a) To read, amend and analyze the financial statements of the company

b) To conduct a test for standard deviations

c) Applying the technique of capital budgeting, in order to critically analyze a business offer

d) Make presentations in front of the management

A standard resume, in the era of applicant tracking systems, must always use the keywords mentioned in the job description of the vacancy advertised. The resume of Mr. XYZ should be as follows:

Mr. XYZ

Modern City, AAA

Education: Bachelor in Commerce and Certified Financial Analyst

Key Skills:

a) Deep understanding of all the key elements present in a financial statement.

b) Knack for conducting audits of the financial statements.

c) Knowledge and ability to perform the technique of standard deviations in order to evaluate the variances from the normal.

d) Knowledge and ability to perform capital budgeting, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of a novel business offer.

e) Ability to monitor and prepare various budgets.

As you can infer from the case study mentioned above, Mr. XYZ has designed his resume by picking maximum terms and keywords from the job description offered by the employer itself, thereby increasing his chances of getting screened to a maximum level.

2) It Is Always Advisable To Use Full Forms Where Ever Possible

Humans made robots, they represent, analyze and generate responses, on the basis of information fed by their creators. It is highly likely, that they might be unaware, that they are being called ATS, by the entire world. This shortcoming of applicant tracking systems, tells us to modify and prepare our resumes by using, full forms of all the possible terms. The best way is to include both the acronym and full forms of the terminology used in the resume.

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A perfect and bad example of this can be understiid from the table below:

Perfect exampleBad example
Mr. XYZ Mr. XYZ
Education: a) Bachelor in Commerce (B.com)
b) Certified Financial Analyst (C.F.A)
c) Diploma in International Financial Reporting Standards (I.F.R.S)
Education: a) B.com
b) C.F.A
c) Diploma in I.F.R.S
Educational Institution: a) Modern College of Finance (McoF), Modern City
Educational Institution: a) McoF, Modern City

As it is clearly visible that in the bad example, Mr. XYZ has used only acronyms, albeit popular ones. Still, it is highly likely, that an applicant tracking system won’t be able to pick these acronyms and a candidate would be rejected no matter he had relevant skills, interests, and qualifications.

3) Don’t Over Format or Arrange Your Resume

Excessive beautification of the resume’s contents might puzzle the applicant tracking system and it might judge you as an unsuitable candidate to the profile. It has been observed in many cases, that candidates focus too much on formatting, arrangement, and setting up of data mentioned in the resume, instead of analyzing and upgrading the data itself. Hence, it is of utmost importance to use less of those formatting skills of yours, and save them for some future use.

4) Always Prepare A Gramatically Correct Resume

Humans have a knack for interpreting a paragraph written by a person weak in grammar, spelling, and presentation skills. It is highly unlikely, that humans have passed these skills to their robots. It has been observed in multiple cases, that a resume that is poorly drafted, often can’t pass the probing eyes of an applicant tracking system.

It is highly likely, those wrong spellings used would confuse the system, and it would simply don’t give you a chance to appear for the second round. Hence, a candidate must always prepare his resume using correct grammar and usage of appropriate vocabulary using correct spellings in order to increase his or her chances of selection and eventually obtain the dream job.

5) If You Have Relevant Skills, Just Apply

Waiting for a hundred percent match just does not make sense. If you think you have a proper resume and relevant, skills and interests then don’t hesitate a bit from applying. No tracking system screens candidates, who score a perfect match. Even if you have less relevant experience but you are enthusiastic about the position and can work with all your heart then just apply for it. It is highly likely, that even robots would bow down, let alone humans, in front of your grit and perseverance.

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6) Remain in Constant Touch With Your Employer

Even if you have been rejected by an applicant tracking system, you still have a chance. It is advisable to remain in touch with your employer even after getting a no from a human-made system. Just make a call or an email to the human resource manager or any relevant person who was about to conduct your interview. State them the truth, and persuade them to have second look at your job application as you have relevant skills and interests along with a matching work experience. Your modest Email should be on the below-mentioned lines:

Respected Sir/Ma’am,

I, XYZ applied for the vacancy of senior accountant advertised by your prestigious organization, a few days back. I am a commerce graduate from Modern College of Finance and have also done the course of Certified Financial Analyst. I have a relevant work experience of 2 years, with ABC LLP.

It was my misfortune, that I was not screened by the applicant tracking system, despite have a matching educational background and work experience.

Hence, through this mail, I request you to review my candidature and give me one more chance to express my skills and abilities.

Looking forward to kickstarting with your prestigious organization.

Regards,

XYZ

Conclusion

Beating applicant tracking systems could be tricky, but after properly following guidelines and tips, it usually becomes a cakewalk. Since, an applicant tracking system uses the resume of a candidate as a basis for analyzing the skills, experience, and most importantly the desire of a candidate to contribute, designing and customizing a resume, becomes the primary and pivotal objective of an applicant.

Developers have and will always be developing new technologies, our primary role must be to use these technologies for our own benefits, no matter if it requires some extra efforts. If you like our article then don’t forget to share them with your family and friends. Also, how helpful our articles turn out to be, please mention them in the comments section below.

References

  1. http://www.ibmrdjournal.com/index.php/ibmrd/article/view/46706/0
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11573-014-0758-9