Life-cycle of a resume part 2: Applicant Tracking System
Your first obstacle to getting a job interview isn't a recruiter. Most companies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to filter resumes before any human even takes a look.
What's an Applicant Tracking System?
ATS software help HR manage the hiring and recruiting process. One of its function is to collect and sort thousands of resumes.
When you apply for a job online, or submit your resume at a job portal, it typically doesn't go directly to a recruiter or hiring manager. The ATS first processes the resume, cutting it up into parts and trying to sort the profile into work experience, skills or education.
It then scores each profile based on keywords, trying to match it with what a recruiter is looking for. Whether a human ever sees your resume may depend on how well it has been optimized for such an ATS.
Why are employers using Applicant Tracking Systems?
In today's digital world, recruiters have to wrestle with resume spam. HR is buried with resumes from countless job seekers. Job seekers often don't even read the requirements or job description but will just try their luck, submitting their resume to every posting they can find.
An ATS eases this burden, helping HR keep all the resumes in one place, stay organized and perform the first cut to get filter off irrelevant resumes.
There are lots of ATS software available on the market, each with their own features, strengths and weaknesses. Some are extremely outdated and each of them may "read" your resume differently. However, the same guidelines generally apply when writing your resume to help an ATS read them better.