What is an applicant tracking system, and how does it affect my job applications?


Answered by: ByVirtualist career experts

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software program used by employers to scan, review, and rate job applications submitted for their open jobs.

There are many different types of ATS, but most of them work in a similar way:

They scan resumes looking for keywords that are important to the job being applied for.
Those keywords are usually mentioned in the job listing, often multiple times, so job seekers can guestimate which keywords will be important to include on their resumes in order to be well-rated by ATS.
Applications that receive a certain score by ATS are then passed to a hiring manager or HR professional for further review.
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) screen out or reject an estimated 70% or more of the resumes submitted either because the documents don’t reflect the desired qualifications or are formatted in a way that the system can’t digest the information.

That’s why it’s so important to tailor and edit your resume to reflect the keywords found in the job description that match your qualifications and to use simple formatting so your document can be properly scanned.

This downloadable PDF sample shows you how to tailor your resume for one specific job listing, and the lessons can be applied to your cover letter as well.