6 tips that will help you Beat the ATS and Get that Interview!

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Imagine finding your dream job opportunity, spending hours tailoring your resume and cover letter to the role, and submitting your application full of hopes that it’ll earn you an interview invite. But, while waiting for feedback, hours turned into days, days into weeks, yet nothing. Then, it dawned on you that your resume didn’t cut. At some point when you’d already moved on, you got an automated email confirming what you already knew – you didn’t make it! How would you feel?

While this scenario is better left to the imagination for some people, it’s, unfortunately, the reality of a significant proportion of job seekers. Many of us have gone through a similar situation more times than we can count, and we’re always left wondering where things went wrong. “I tailored my CV to the role,” “I had all the qualities!” etc., are usually some of our go-to statements when we encounter such a situation.

Only a few job seekers know that there’s more to getting interview invites than sending a well-designed resume and cover letter. Many don’t realise that resumes sent for job applications hardly ever make their way to the hands of recruiters – studies have shown that a whopping 75% of job applications are kicked out even before human eyes see them. 

The Applicant Tracking System

An applicant tracking system, also known as ATS, is an electronic tool used by human resources managers and recruiters to manage the recruitment process. They use it to collect, scan, sort into categories, and rank the various applications they receive for advertised job openings.

How Does the ATS Work?

You can regard the applicant tracking system as an electronic gatekeeper to recruiters and employers. It filters out job applications that it deems not good enough for the role (based on set algorithms) and ensures the recruiters end up with the best candidates. 

The tool parses the content of a CV or resume and categorises it, after which it scans it for keywords specific to the role to know if the application is qualified enough to make it to the recruiter. Applications that it finds qualified find their way to the recruiters while those that fall short of the requirements get weeded out.

How Can You Beat the ATS?

Employers’ applicant tracking system is to streamline the recruitment process and ensure that applicants are more suited for the role. As a result, it’s easy for your resume never to get seen by a human if it doesn’t conform to specific requirements set by the recruiters for the system.

Here are some tricks you can adopt, so you can beat the ATS – 

1.    Only apply for roles you’re well qualified for – 

Due to the scarcity of jobs and the competitive nature of the market, it’s no news that many job seekers end up sending applications for every vacancy they come across – those that fit their profiles and those that don’t. Going this route will make it highly challenging for your CV to pass the ATS test, and it will be filled with embellishments and errors that will not go unnoticed by the system.

2.    Get Your CV Tailored to the Job Description

One of the grave mistakes job applicants make is using a generic CV for every application. If you’ve been doing this, it’s entirely wrong and is a significant factor affecting your chances of getting interview invites. Every job opening comes with unique descriptions and requirements. Using a generic resume for all your job applications puts you at risk of a mismatch of details, which might get your application neglected.

Ensure you tailor your CV to the job description of the role to which you’re applying. While it might take more time than using one resume, it’s advantageous. Include keywords and terminologies that match what the organisation requires.

3.    Avoid Spelling Errors

When dealing with the applicant tracking system, you can’t be too careful. While such mistakes portray you in a bad light, a human might be forgiving and overlook certain things, especially if you’ve got the requisite experience and skills. However, with the ATS, it’s an entirely different scenario. It’s an electronic tool that functions based on set instructions. When it encounters a spelling error, it sees it as an unknown language and might discard your application altogether.

4.    Avoid Acronyms as Much as Possible

Many applicant tracking systems are not built to recognise acronyms, as the latter could be interpreted in several ways. So, by using them in your CV, you would be doing yourself a disservice. To avoid being on the wrong side of things, avoid acronyms as much as possible. Write your qualifications and certifications in full.

5.    Don’t Include Images, Charts, Tables, and Other Graphics

While the presence of tables, graphs, and other graphics may look pleasing to the human eye, the ATS interprets them differently. When passed through the system, a physically appealing application filled with images may become messy as the applicant tracking system is not designed to recognise such. So ensure your CV is devoid of things like that to make it readable for the ATS.

6.    Use Simple Bullets to Highlight Your Points

Bullets points are handy tools when it comes to highlighting your skills, qualifications, and accomplishments. However, sticking to simple ones is essential as it ensures your selling points don’t get scrambled when passed through the ATS. Your bullets should complement your CV, not make it unreadable for the system.

Final Thoughts

The applicant tracking system has become a commonplace tool for recruiters and hiring managers to get the best talents for their job openings. As an applicant, beating the system must be your focus, as it’s what guarantees you are getting invited for interviews. For a top-notch, optimised, ATS-friendly CV, simply fill this form https://bit.ly/36dQh1D and one of our professionals will reach out to you.

To see the video clip from the #AskHR Live session, kindly visit any of the following links:
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Opeyemi
Opeyemi Osijirin is a creative, versatile, and result-driven community management specialist and copywriter with a track record of delivering excellent results in social media management, SEO copywriting, and content strategy. Known for community management and writing styles that aim at striking a connection with followers and readers. Proven record of leveraging writing innovations in boosting the growth of businesses. Let's connect. I'll love to hear from you.