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What is an ATS and why does it matter?

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In today’s competitive job market, companies are inundated with resumes from job seekers. To manage this influx of applications, many companies have turned to Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). But what exactly are ATS, and why do companies use them?

What are Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)?

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software application that enables employers to manage their recruitment process electronically. The software automates the screening and tracking of resumes, making it easier and more efficient for recruiters to find qualified candidates.

Why do companies use ATS?

There are several reasons why companies use ATS:

Managing large volumes of applications: Companies receive thousands of resumes for a single job posting. Without an ATS, recruiters would need to manually sift through each application, which would be a time-consuming process.

Streamlining the recruitment process: An ATS enables recruiters to track candidates at every stage of the recruitment process, from application to hiring. The software automates tasks such as sending emails to candidates and scheduling interviews, which streamlines the recruitment process.

Ensuring compliance: An ATS can help companies ensure that their recruitment process is compliant with legal requirements, such as equal opportunity and non-discrimination laws.

However, despite the benefits of ATS, there are some flaws that job seekers should be aware of.

Flaws of ATS

Lack of personalization: An ATS is designed to scan resumes for specific keywords and phrases, which means that resumes that don’t include those keywords may be automatically rejected. This can be problematic for job seekers who have unique experiences or skills that aren’t captured in standard resume language.

Errors in scanning: ATS can sometimes have trouble accurately scanning resumes. This can happen if the formatting of the resume is not compatible with the software, or if the software misreads certain words or phrases.

Bias: Although ATS is designed to remove bias from the recruitment process, it can inadvertently perpetuate bias if the keywords used to scan resumes are biased towards certain demographics or backgrounds.

Optimizing Your Resume for ATS

Despite the flaws of ATS, there are ways to optimize your resume to increase your chances of making it through the initial screening. Here are some tips:

Use relevant keywords: Carefully review the job description and incorporate relevant keywords and phrases into your resume. This will increase the likelihood of your resume being flagged as a match by the ATS.

Keep formatting simple: Use a simple, clean format for your resume to ensure that it can be easily scanned by ATS. Avoid using graphics, tables, or other formatting that could be misread by the software.

Customize your resume: Tailor your resume to each job you apply for. Use the job description to identify the skills and experiences that are most relevant, and emphasize those in your resume.

Proofread your resume: ATS can misread certain words or phrases, so it’s important to proofread your resume carefully to ensure that there are no errors or misspellings.

In conclusion, while ATS are not perfect, they are an important tool that companies use to manage their recruitment process. By understanding how ATS work and optimizing your resume accordingly, you can increase your chances of making it through the initial screening and moving on to the next stage of the recruitment process.

Chris Kidd is the owner of,,, and

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