How to Beat the ATS – Not!

How to Beat the ATS – Not!

With the new presidential administration in office, and their first weeks’ actions killing over 100,000 jobs, the economy will soon be flooded with job applicants.  This means increased competition for jobs in the private sector – especially for blue-collar workers.  Those job seekers will be submitting their freshened resumes to companies via an ATS platform.

An Automatic Tracking System (ATS) is a software program, predominantly hosted on the cloud (Internet), normally licensed for use to a company who needs to track and maintain records of hiring, onboarding, and personnel-related activities related to recruiting.  Some ATS vendors are PeopleSoft, Oracle Talent, iCIMS, PC Recruiter, and Smart Recruiter. 

Someone asked me recently, “how can I beat the ATS?”  My answer … there is no such thing as ‘beating’ an ATS.  That is a misunderstanding.  There is no hack or secret.  There is ‘ensuring the applicant has all the qualifications and keywords’ that matches the job’s minimum requirements for consideration as a qualified candidate. 

The primary reason companies use ATS platforms is because of a Federal Employment law requiring ’tracking’ of all recruiting activities as part of employment law compliance, as well as to assist in the compilation of Affirmative Action Plan reporting required by the federal government annually. Recruiters often oversee 10-60 job requisitions.  Depending upon the economy and the job’s geographic location, applications can range in the hundreds.  It is physically impossible to read 500+ resumes submitted for 40-60 jobs in a 40-hour a week job so an ATS helps in this process. 

An ATS platform works this way.  The company rep (recruiter, HR, or 3rd-party vendor) will …

  • Post a job requisition into the ATS which is then linked to (a) the company website and/or (b) 3rd-party recruiting vendors (e.g., CareerBuilder, Indeed, LinkedIn) to publicly announce the job.
  • Job seekers upload their resume to the job directly, or if they have already posted a resume in the company’s ATS, ‘link’ their resume to the open position for consideration.
  • Recruiters often add ‘pre-qualifications’ to the job posting to avoid a tsunami of unqualified applicants flooding the database.
  • Prequalification questions are often multiple choice or yes/no options.  If the job mandates a bachelor’s degree and the applicant only has a high-school degree, the applicant is rejected automatically by the ATS with the ‘no’ answer to the question.
  • Recruiters then perform Keyword Searches (words or phrases) to search for job specific words in the job applicant pool – similar to searching on Google, but on a much smaller scale. 

What will result from the search are resumes with those keywords.  Those resumes with the MOST number of keywords in the resume queue as a result of ‘more relevant’ and ‘best match.’  Recruiters will likely read the top 5-10 resumes.  If recruiters find good matches in the resumes for qualified candidates, they may never even read the remaining resumes for lack of time and mark remaining resumes as ‘other candidates more qualified).  ONLY if none of the first 10 matches fail to connect, will recruiters go to the ’next 10’ resumes for consideration.  

What pertinent and key descriptions in the job seeker’s resume have ‘matching key words’ to the job description to get the job seeker past the firewall and under the eyeballs of interested parties in the recruiting process?  How to ensure your resume is SEEN (thereby getting past the firewall, so to speak):

  • Read the job description for ‘minimum’ qualifications or experience.  If you do not meet 100% of those requirements, making it through the pre-qualification process is slim – use your time more wisely.
  • If the job seeker has all the qualifications, re-read the resume for key words to the mandatory descriptions in the resume?  If yes, you will likely make it through the preliminary process.
  • If  ‘key’ mandatory descriptions are not worded similarly or the same in your resume, copy and paste those bullet(s) from the job description for experience and paste it into the resume.  Then reword the copied and bulleted job description so it doesn’t read like a copy and paste.  While rewriting, retain those ‘key words’ from the description. 

With growing competition in the job market over the next few years, ensure the resume has key and related wording and job skill phrases not only mentioned but reworded and in many places through the resume.  These keywords and phrases are the real ‘key’ to getting a job seeker’s resume to beat the ATS.  Once your resume makes it through the preliminary qualification process, those numbers of keywords will ensure your resume is seen by more recruiting eyeballs – whether in company proprietary ATS or in the larger resume databases on the Internet. 

Bio: Dawn D. Boyer, Ph.D., has been an entrepreneur and business owner for 20+ years, with a successful business and consulting firm in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Richmond, Colonial Beach, and Gloucester, VA.  Her background experience is 24+ years in the Human Resources field, of which 12+ years are within the Federal & Defense Contracting industry. She is the author of 858+ books on the topics of business, human resources research, career search practice, women and gender study, genealogy and family lineages, quotes for motivation and self-improvement, and Adult Coloring Books.  Her books can be found on Amazon.com under her author’s page for Dawn D. Boyer, Ph.D.

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How to Beat the ATS – Not!

How to Beat the ATS – Not!

With the new presidential administration in office, and their first weeks’ actions killing over 100,000 jobs, the economy will soon be flooded with job applicants.  This means increased competition for jobs in the private sector – especially for blue-collar workers.  Those job seekers will be submitting their freshened resumes to companies via an ATS platform.

An Automatic Tracking System (ATS) is a software program, predominantly hosted on the cloud (Internet), normally licensed for use to a company who needs to track and maintain records of hiring, onboarding, and personnel-related activities related to recruiting.  Some ATS vendors are PeopleSoft, Oracle Talent, iCIMS, PC Recruiter, and Smart Recruiter. 

Someone asked me recently, “how can I beat the ATS?”  My answer … there is no such thing as ‘beating’ an ATS.  That is a misunderstanding.  There is no hack or secret.  There is ‘ensuring the applicant has all the qualifications and keywords’ that matches the job’s minimum requirements for consideration as a qualified candidate. 

The primary reason companies use ATS platforms is because of a Federal Employment law requiring ’tracking’ of all recruiting activities as part of employment law compliance, as well as to assist in the compilation of Affirmative Action Plan reporting required by the federal government annually. Recruiters often oversee 10-60 job requisitions.  Depending upon the economy and the job’s geographic location, applications can range in the hundreds.  It is physically impossible to read 500+ resumes submitted for 40-60 jobs in a 40-hour a week job so an ATS helps in this process. 

An ATS platform works this way.  The company rep (recruiter, HR, or 3rd-party vendor) will …

  • Post a job requisition into the ATS which is then linked to (a) the company website and/or (b) 3rd-party recruiting vendors (e.g., CareerBuilder, Indeed, LinkedIn) to publicly announce the job.
  • Job seekers upload their resume to the job directly, or if they have already posted a resume in the company’s ATS, ‘link’ their resume to the open position for consideration.
  • Recruiters often add ‘pre-qualifications’ to the job posting to avoid a tsunami of unqualified applicants flooding the database.
  • Prequalification questions are often multiple choice or yes/no options.  If the job mandates a bachelor’s degree and the applicant only has a high-school degree, the applicant is rejected automatically by the ATS with the ‘no’ answer to the question.
  • Recruiters then perform Keyword Searches (words or phrases) to search for job specific words in the job applicant pool – similar to searching on Google, but on a much smaller scale. 

What will result from the search are resumes with those keywords.  Those resumes with the MOST number of keywords in the resume queue as a result of ‘more relevant’ and ‘best match.’  Recruiters will likely read the top 5-10 resumes.  If recruiters find good matches in the resumes for qualified candidates, they may never even read the remaining resumes for lack of time and mark remaining resumes as ‘other candidates more qualified).  ONLY if none of the first 10 matches fail to connect, will recruiters go to the ’next 10’ resumes for consideration.  

What pertinent and key descriptions in the job seeker’s resume have ‘matching key words’ to the job description to get the job seeker past the firewall and under the eyeballs of interested parties in the recruiting process?  How to ensure your resume is SEEN (thereby getting past the firewall, so to speak):

  • Read the job description for ‘minimum’ qualifications or experience.  If you do not meet 100% of those requirements, making it through the pre-qualification process is slim – use your time more wisely.
  • If the job seeker has all the qualifications, re-read the resume for key words to the mandatory descriptions in the resume?  If yes, you will likely make it through the preliminary process.
  • If  ‘key’ mandatory descriptions are not worded similarly or the same in your resume, copy and paste those bullet(s) from the job description for experience and paste it into the resume.  Then reword the copied and bulleted job description so it doesn’t read like a copy and paste.  While rewriting, retain those ‘key words’ from the description. 

With growing competition in the job market over the next few years, ensure the resume has key and related wording and job skill phrases not only mentioned but reworded and in many places through the resume.  These keywords and phrases are the real ‘key’ to getting a job seeker’s resume to beat the ATS.  Once your resume makes it through the preliminary qualification process, those numbers of keywords will ensure your resume is seen by more recruiting eyeballs – whether in company proprietary ATS or in the larger resume databases on the Internet. 

Bio: Dawn D. Boyer, Ph.D., has been an entrepreneur and business owner for 20+ years, with a successful business and consulting firm in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Richmond, Colonial Beach, and Gloucester, VA.  Her background experience is 24+ years in the Human Resources field, of which 12+ years are within the Federal & Defense Contracting industry. She is the author of 858+ books on the topics of business, human resources research, career search practice, women and gender study, genealogy and family lineages, quotes for motivation and self-improvement, and Adult Coloring Books.  Her books can be found on Amazon.com under her author’s page for Dawn D. Boyer, Ph.D.

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