Applicant Tracking Systems and Your Resume

Posted on March 27, 2012. Filed under: Job Market Trends, Resumes | Tags: , , , , |

ATSby Sheree Van Vreede (@rezlady)

Applicant Tracking Systems Are Here to Stay

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are a reality in today’s world of the job search and resume posting. Regardless of your opinion of them or mine — which is that the way companies set them up makes them ineffective and costs them lots of dollars — they are here to stay and are increasing in number. A January 2012 Wall Street Journal article provides some good background and statistics on the topic. You can view it here.

The real question is: What do I do with my resume so that it works well with these resume screening ATS systems? Although most claim that a Word document will work fine, that’s not really true. Resumes done in MS Word inherently have a good amount of formatting behind the scenes to make the resume look nice. That’s great when you email it or print it out for someone to view. Its not so nice for the ATS. The technology is such that they have difficulty parsing the data in your resume properly. Which means that information doesn’t always get placed in the right bucket. Oftentimes, this leads to the resume being “booted out” of the system.

Two Is Good; Three Is Better

The answer is to have multiple versions of your resume to handle the various submittal requirements. When submitting through an ATS, a text-only (ASCII) or e-version of the resume is the best way to go. The text-only version strips out all the fancy formatting and reorganizes the information into the proper order so that the ATS can load it successfully.

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