Companies can choose from several hundred ATSs, depending on their structure, budget and recruitment needs. Some of the most well known are Taleo, Jobvite, Kenexa and Newton and these systems can range from about $5K to hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition to large companies, we’re seeing a growing trend of small and mid-sized businesses, as well as job and resume boards such as: Monster.com, Yahoo! Hotjobs, and CareerBuilder investing in applicant tracking and recruiting solutions to manage, scan, and track candidate resumes.
So, how does the applicant tracking system (ATS) work?
- You apply and HR receives your resume (along with countless others)
- Your resume is run through a parser (a computer program that removes styling and breaks down text into recognized strings of characters for further analysis.)
- The parser separates the content and filters it into a standard profile comprised of important information such as: contact information, keywords related to the job description, former employers, years of experience, and schools attended.
- Employers are provided the option to use keywords (most popular method) to search candidates or go in and look at each individual profile and related resume.
- Your resume is scored based on relevancy – using semantic matching against the employer's search terms and your years of experience.
9 Ways You Can Optimize Your Résumé to Rank Highly in the Employer’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
Tip #1: Do not put important information like your name and contact info in a header or footer.
Tip #2: Stick to standard or web-safe fonts such as: Arial, Courier New, Georgia, Impact, Lucida Sans Unicode, Palatino Linotype, Tahoma, Trebuchet MS, and Times New Roman (just to name a few).
Tip #3: Use .RTF or .DOC file types which are the most generic. Avoid PDF, DOCX, WPD, WPS or HTML. There are many that can read PDF now, but it’s better to keep the resume formatted as simply as possible.
Tip #4: Avoid the use of special characters such as arrows. Standard bullets are fine.
Tip #5: Keep the formatting on your résumé simple and streamlined. To avoid system confusion, add company name, position title and dates of employment all on separate lines.
Tip #6: Eliminate graphics of any kind, including JPG, PNG, and BMP images. You can always mail or present a fancier copy of your resume at the interview.
Tip #7: Do not use tables, borders, shading or symbols.
Tip #8: Review job descriptions, job postings and advertisements for jobs you are seeking and make a list of the skills required.
Tip #9: Do not use hidden keywords or words with small text colored white so it does not appear to a reader.