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What is ATS? How do they filter job applications?

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What is Application Tracking System (ATS)?

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) use various criteria to filter job applications, including keywords, education, experience, location, and more. ATS scans the resumes and cover letters for specific keywords and phrases that match the job description and rank them accordingly. Resumes with higher keyword matches and relevant skills are more likely to get past the initial screening process. In addition to keywords, ATS also looks for specific qualifications, such as education level, work experience, and certifications. The system may also take into account factors such as location and salary expectations to further narrow down the pool of applicants. Ultimately, the goal of an ATS is to make the hiring process more efficient by quickly identifying the most qualified candidates for the job.

ATS is an application software that is used by hiring managers, to filter through hundred if not thousands of CVs’ to determine which ones are most suitable for a position they are seeking to fill. Unlike human, ATS are robots, which check for certain keywords in your CV to determine the strength of your CV or rather how relevant you are, to a specific job.

Hiring managers that use ATS, usually define certain conditions to be meant for the CV to be approved for further review by human. The criteria used will be in category of education, skills, experience and even based on specific certification.

For instance, a company may be seeking a finance manager. In the ATS, they will define the following condition: -

  • Education: master’s in Finance
  • Certification: Certified Public Accountant
  • Skills: Budgeting, Credit control, cost control
  • Experience: over 5 years.

Any one who will apply for such a job, their CV will be scanned to see if it meets the set conditions, then the applications is ranked from best to worst.

How do ATS work?

ATS uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to scan, sort, and rank job applications based on specific criteria. When an applicant applies for a job, their resume and cover letter are uploaded into the ATS. The system then scans the resume and cover letter for specific keywords and phrases that match the job description.

The ATS uses a scoring system to rank applicants based on how well they match the job requirements. The more relevant keywords and phrases an applicant has in their resume, the higher their score will be. Resumes with a higher score are more likely to be reviewed by a human recruiter.

Once the resumes are sorted and ranked, recruiters can then review the top candidates and select the ones they want to interview. The ATS also tracks the progress of each candidate throughout the hiring process, from application to job offer.

Why do companies use ATS?

With current high un employment rate, companies receive thousands of job application each day. Going though all these applications will be impossible for such companies.

ATS on the other hand, filter all the applications and rank those applications based on relevant merit to the job applied for. Therefore, the hiring managers will only go through the top ranked applicants when choosing who to invite for an interview, this in turn speed up the hiring process

What do I need to do to pass ATS Robots?

  • The first thing you need to do is go through the job advertised, see the requirements, and see if you are genuinely qualified before appling.
  • The next thing is to take a pen and a paper and look in the description for valuable keywords which they have emphasize by using words like “MUST”, note all these keywords.
  • Write your cover letter and CV based on those keywords.

If you note in the description that there have written, that you MUST have a master’s in finance, and you only have a Degree in Finance, the best option is to move on with other job advert which match your educations, skills and experience.

CV or Resume Format

While writing your CV make sure you write using normal fonts like Times new roman, aria etc. ATS will not recognize fancy fonts and will block for such reason. It is good to note that ATS will read word format better than PDF format.

Benefits of ATS

There are several benefits of using an ATS for employers and job seekers alike. Here are some of the most significant advantages of ATS.

Benefits of ATS For Employers:

  • Time-saving: An ATS saves employers time by automating the recruitment process. Instead of manually reviewing every resume, the ATS filters out unqualified candidates and ranks the remaining ones based on their relevance to the job requirements.
  • Improved candidate quality: By automating the screening process, employers can ensure that they only consider the most qualified candidates. This leads to a higher quality of applicants and reduces the time and resources required for hiring.
  • Increased efficiency: ATS eliminates the need for manual tracking of resumes and job applications, making the recruitment process more efficient. It also streamlines the hiring process by tracking candidate progress and sending automated notifications to recruiters.
  • Compliance: An ATS helps employers comply with anti-discrimination laws by removing the possibility of human bias in the screening process. The system uses objective criteria to screen candidates, ensuring that all candidates are evaluated fairly.

Benefits of ATS For Job Seekers:

  • Increased visibility: By applying through an ATS, job seekers can increase their visibility to potential employers. Recruiters can easily search for candidates based on specific criteria, increasing the chances of being contacted for an interview.
  • Automated notifications: ATS sends automated notifications to candidates throughout the hiring process. This eliminates the need for candidates to follow up with recruiters, reducing stress and anxiety during the job search process.
  • Feedback: Some ATS systems provide feedback to candidates on their resume and application. This feedback can help candidates improve their resume and increase their chances of being selected for an interview.
  • Equality: An ATS helps ensure that all candidates are evaluated fairly based on objective criteria. This reduces the possibility of human bias in the screening process, ensuring that all candidates are evaluated based on their skills and qualifications.

How to optimize your CV for ATS

To increase your chances of getting past the ATS and being noticed by recruiters, it is essential to optimize your resume for the system. Here are some tips on how to do so:

  • Use relevant keywords: Use keywords and phrases that match the job description in your resume and cover letter. This will increase the chances of the ATS identifying you as a relevant candidate.
  • Use standard headings: Use standard headings for your resume, such as "Work Experience," "Education," and "Skills." This will make it easier for the ATS to parse your resume.
  • Avoid graphics and images: ATS cannot read graphics and images, so avoid using them in your resume. Stick to simple formatting and use bullet points to highlight your skills and experience.
  • Customize your resume: Customize your resume for each job application, using keywords and phrases specific to the job. This will increase the chances of the ATS identifying you as a relevant candidate.
  • Use clear and concise language: Use clear and concise language in your resume, avoiding jargon and buzzwords. This will make it easier for the ATS to read and parse your resume.
  • Spell-check your resume: Ensure that your resume is free of spelling and grammatical errors. ATS systems can detect errors and lower your score, so it's essential to proofread your resume carefully.
  • Save your resume in the right format: Save your resume in a format that is compatible with the ATS, such as a Word document or PDF. Avoid using formats such as JPEG or PNG, which cannot be read by the ATS.
Good Luck!

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