How To Beat The Applicant Tracking System | ATS resume scanning for your job search 2024

So, what do you write in those text boxes I know people are like oh, why are they asking me to repeat myself. Like, do a good job of that! Because the ATS is reading the text in those boxes, not your resume potentially Hey Badasses, welcome back to the Badass Careers YouTube channel, which is designed to give you modern career advice that doesn`t suck.

Well, I hope! So I combined 10 years of being a corporate HR recruiter Leadership development expert and HR generalist and slam it all together I`ve been working with some of the most incredible companies in the world. Fortune 500, kick startups, and the most Incredible people in the world and I`m channeling everything I know about Getting amazing opportunities and showing up as the high achiever you are in your career, and I`m putting it right here So welcome, And today we`re going to talk about a topic.

Check Out: CV writing

That`s quite dear to my heart Which is around getting your resume or CV through the applicant tracking system The ATS so getting it past those little robots that like to read your CV So a lot of people come to me and say I just feel like I`m sending my CV when I apply online It feels like I`m sending my resume into a black hole Like I send it away and it`s like it never gets rid never gets seen and one of the first steps you`ve got to make sure that you`re conquering if you`re applying online is getting past that applicant tracking system so we`re gonna dive into that today and talk about some of the myths around that because there`s a lot of misinformation out there about this and Some hacks that you can use to make sure the robots are saying yeah This person sounds good.

When I say the robots it`s an algorithm, right and that`s scanning your resume your document We`ll get into all of that kind of stuff but I just like to think of them as a little team of handy dandy robots that are going through and reading like What do we think here? So yeah That`s how I`d like to imagine it. So why do these systems even exist? Well on average jobs tend to get about 300 applicants on average.

Okay, and if you`re working somewhere like Google they receive 75,000 applications per week to work at Google, and given the current context is probably even more competitive even more people looking for work so, of course, these systems exist as a kind of resume spam filter to kind of cut through all of the noise and just show the Recruiter the small percentage of profiles that they better look at and consider and then see who`s gonna make it through to the interview according to a recent study 98 percent of Fortune 500`s have an applicant tracking system and over half of the Multi midsize companies use them as well and It`s just gonna be the new norm.

So we have to learn how to navigate this stuff So what the hell is an applicant tracking system, it`s very much like if you imagine search engine optimization for websites, right? So if you type something into Google it will give you the results based on what you are looking for that it thinks are most relevant to you and that`s what an applicant tracking system is doing for the recruiter so it knows what`s in the Job Description and it understands what`s required for the role and then it uses an algorithm to match that up with the profiles coming in and scan them and actually read them. It uses this natural language processing to actually Like pass through the resumes and read them and see what`s inside to then generate Okay.

You are an 80% match, 82% match 90% match based on what we`re looking for and what you have to offer It`s kind of looking for the overlap there. Now that I say that out loud. It`s kind of like the tinder for recruiters so what it does is it`s decoding what you`ve written in the resume and It`s reading these sentences and it`s matching it up and scanning for keywords and key phrases that have been configured Around what would make a strong candidate for this position. So an ATS eliminates just in the first round around about 75% of resumes directly boom gone so you can see why it`s important to know how to work with the system to make sure that your resume is ending up in the pile that the Recruiters actually going to look at so it actually gets seen by a real human So let`s dive into some tips now around keyword matching language matching format and design I get a lot of questions Like does it have to be a Word document? Are PDFs okay?

Can I use online resume creators all that kind of stuff? So we`re gonna dive into that right about now Okay, so let`s start with keyword matching So yes We want you to use keywords from the Job Description Obviously go through the job description and highlight some of the keywords that keep being used over and over again But it`s not just about taking those and like Spamming them and plugging them into your resume. Think about the way you can naturally put them into sentences for example in your summary section and your Achievements and your role and just make sure that that kind of going in there quite naturally and you`re using the natural Language around them that people would use in describing that skill and talking about that experience so think about if you`re going for a digital marketing role and specifically one that involves working with influencers on social media based on that you can infer that they`d love to have someone with experience and influence and management and Community management community engagement that kind of stuff.

So try and see how you could put it all together in a sentence. For example, an International digital marketer with five years of experience spending trend analysis influencer marketing advocacy community management and community engagement so you`ve got yes the words that they mentioned and some periphery words as well that come from the experience that would help and also assist you in being able to do the other skills that they`re looking, for now, there is a big misconception that you should completely cut soft skills Like people management and things like that completely out of your resume and that`s not actually true at all It could actually be working against you if you do that, but it`s just about the way that you integrate it So the worst thing you can do on a resume and I`ve talked about this in other videos.

There`s been like skills Organized, projects, people management. Ok, fluffy like doesn`t really mean much anyone could say that and that kind of thing But think about the way that you then write about your achievements and your resume, for example, So if they`re looking for with project coordination or the slots around executing tasks and that kind of thing They might say something like we want the candidate to manage projects from A to Z So you will want to hit your resume at some point how you`ve managed things from concept to completion And actually use verbs from around that concept So what is someone who completes projects from agencies look like?

They initiate things they complete things from conception to completion Initiated and delivered so do think about how you can integrate those not in a fluffy way but in integrating them into your summary and your achievements and that kind of thing think about the words that Would link up to someone who is a great project coordinator and get stuff done.

Now. The next area is around language matching So for example if they say customer experience and you have a client experience on your resume Change it to customer experience if they say leadership skills and you have management skills change it to leadership skills Obviously only if it`s still the same general concept and it`s true but match the language that they use in the job description Now the job title is a big one and obviously they`re gonna prioritize if they`re looking for a project manager they`re gonna be looking for people have project managers a job title and then resume and I get it if you`re going for a role that you haven`t already had completely.

But you can sometimes be creative around the titles that you use and this is also a warning against using fun titles Like marketing ninja, guru and like the head of people experience and like, you know, anything like that. Think to yourself What is this role?

Also Check Out: Resume Proofreader Tool

Actually, called? If you are struggling look at job boards Look on LinkedIn, look at sites, like and just look for what the core titles might be You might just shift that just for practicality purposes and you might even be able to integrate some of the languages into the resume So for example when my clients was an office manager and wanted to become a project coordinator and like when she looked at the actual Job, she was doing she was a project coordinator.

She just had the title of office manager so she could have done that several ways But we ended up saying like office manager slash project coordinator You could also say like office manager with project coordination responsibilities. You can find a way to Play with that so that you have it there another great place to put it as in your tagline Underneath the name of your resume So this is when you kind of sum up who you are and what you do So this is a good thing for graduates.

For example So just say that you have just graduated and you`re not yet a digital marketer, but that`s what you want to become So in your headline there? You could say something like Bachelor of Commerce Graduate aspiring digital marketer just to find a way to get the phrase the job title in that document I would also recommend looking on the company`s website and looking at their values. What kind of values is driving the Organization their culture look at the careers site look at some videos on YouTube about People employees actually talking about the company and the work that they do what kind of language do they tend to use in general?

Because how the ATS can work is that they build up the profiles based on successful people already in the company And the language that they use and that kind of thing and it is taken into consideration around Things that our employees tend to say so for example at L`Oreal it was very much around entrepreneurship Self-starting initiating things like working autonomously working independently There was a whole thing around running your role as if you were an entrepreneur as a concept, right?

So are you like to go through into another scan and we have words that scream culture fit as well Based on the company in your resume and it`s really really important that you don`t get repetitive so go through again, look at your resume Make sure you`re not repeating words over and over again So if you`re going from marketing role use a variety of synonyms that are like marketed promoted Advertised campaigned you know what I mean?

So sort of like make sure that you`ve got lots of synonyms in there as well and again If you`re applying to a startup you might want to use words Like built created initiated words that might suit a start-up environment as well So let`s dive into One of the areas that people talk about the most which is the format like some people say you have to upload a Word document Only PDFs won`t get reads. They read as an image that kind of thing.

So Maybe that was true years ago some ATSs struggled to read PDFs, but Basically, this is what you need to know. The reason that Word documents and Word documents turned into PDFs works Well is because they hard encode the text from the word document and into the PDF So, you know when you`ve got the PDF you can highlight the text, right? Do you know what I mean? 

And so this means that the algorithm the ATS can read that language using its natural language processing Now you can still submit PDFs that are not from the basis of a Word document I use canvas There are other tools online where you can create resumes just make sure that when you download it You can highlight the text and that that`s possible That`s quite a telling sign But what you do want to keep in mind is that if it hasn`t come from a word document it needs to use its natural language processing to pass through the text and so you don`t want to use funny fonts or hard to read fonts and stuff Keep it like simple Serif fonts that are just like, you know classic.

Also Read: How to beat an applicant tracking system (ATS)

You know I`m thinking Arial or Helvetica or You know standard quite simple to read font so you don`t want any fancy text I talked about this before as well, but don`t put too many graphics in there like use graphics to highlight your point But always use the language because I can`t read images. They can`t read graphics So your bar charts and your images and your day in the lives and like pie charts and all that kind of stuff It`s cool. But the only thing they`re reading is a text So if you`re going to be doing like my languages and have a bar chart make sure you write out French Spanish, you know Like you write out the languages.

You don`t just put like the colors of the flags or emojis And so am I saying that it looks really cool But the ATS can`t read that stuff and something else to keep in mind here. Is that yes while your resume is super-important You know when you apply online and sometimes asks you to dump your experience in text boxes Sometimes it`s because there are ATS has had issues in the past with reading PDFs so what you write in those text boxes, I know people are like oh Why are they asking me to repeat myself?

Like, do a good job of that because the ATS is reading the text in those boxes. Not your resume potentially so if you do see those text boxes and are asking you to copy your experience and your Motivation and put please put your cover letter in this box and stuff Do it. a couple of bonus tips here and number one is that more sophisticated programs can actually measure the degree of something like the magnitude of a task or skills So don`t be afraid to use those adjectives things like strong or compelling sense and don`t be afraid to throw in those Adverbs as well.

So successfully efficiently effectively or even emphasize nouns like mastery Proficiency and competency that kind of things to kind of give a magnitude to your experience your skill or the way You did something differently bonus points for that I would say and another tip that I`ve mentioned on here before but in case this is your first time you can use a website Called job scan. It`s not perfect Don`t take it as gospel because it does its best based on the software and technology It has but you can actually upload your resume and the Job Description To the site job scan and it will give you a relevant score So it will give you a relevancy score and some tips for how you might be able to make your resume, even more, ATS friendly.

So I hope that you guys found this useful This isn`t everything that you need to know about the ATS because I`m running out of time, but it`s definitely a really strong foundation ATS 101 not even 101 102 and I hope that it helps you in preparing your resume and being able to go through and give it another look and say is This gonna get through the system as always if you have any questions don`t hesitate to ask me down below And while you`re there grab my killer resume cheat sheet that gives you a real-life resume sample and talks you through Some key points and pulling together a really effective and a killer resume.