What You Should Know About Applicant Tracking Systems

Applicant Tracking Systems, often called an ATS, are a type of database that employers and staffing firms use to store your resume during the talent acquisition process. Applicant Tracking Systems are important because they change everything you previously knew about preparing resumes—especially when you have a specific job in mind. 

The best way to understand how an ATS works is to think of how you search for things online. To do that, you enter keywords into Google or another search engine. The search engine then scans all of the information in its database and returns the best results based upon many different factors. 

An Applicant Tracking System works in much the same way. Let’s say a recruiter is working on talent acquisition for a machine operator with experience in the automotive industry. The employer has asked for someone with three years of experience. Just like you did in Google, the recruiter will type in the keywords of “machine operator” and “automotive,” and specify the number of years of experience. 

Databases contain thousands of resumes, and they can’t think on their own. They can only return what they find on each resume. That means if your resume doesn’t include the keywords a potential employer is looking for, it won’t be found. 

So, what does that mean for how you prepare your resume? Here are a few tips: 

Include Keywords in Your Resume

Be sure to print out the job posting or have it up on a separate tab or window. Look at the specific words that the job posting includes and imagine what a recruiter would type into their Applicant Tracking System to find qualified applicants. It’s generally fairly obvious. Look at the job title and the requirements. 

In your resume, try to describe your experience in a way that makes use of those exact words and phrases. It’s important that you don’t overly embellish or lie on your resume. Tell the truth, but line it up with the job posting and keywords. 

Be Descriptive

It’s tempting to rush through creating your resume over. Let’s be honest, drafting them isn’t always the most fun thing in the world, but it’s important to get your resume right. 

Let’s return to our example of a machine operator for an automotive facility. The more words you use to describe your relevant experience, the more likely it is that you will get found. Instead of just saying “machine operator,” you could say, “machine operator for the Acme 5820 that produced lug nuts for the automotive industry.” This way, you have more of a chance of popping to the top of the list in the ATS! 

Stay in Touch with a Recruiter

The good news for you is that Inova Staffing reviews each new application that is sent to us. That means that if you don’t get those keywords right the first time, you don’t need to worry. Resumes are, however, put into a database for future use, so the advice above is a good habit to get into. 

If you’re looking for a new position, get in touch with us. We make applying easy. Here are a few easy ways to find your new role: 

  1. Call or text one of our offices to start a conversation with one of our recruiters.
  2. Check out our always updated job board and apply for a specific position.
  3. Answer one of our ads on other popular job boards across the internet (Indeed, LinkedIn, etc). We're even on Facebook! 

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