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What is ATS and why you need to know about it when applying for a job

Most jobseekers, especially experienced ones, know that in order to land a job they need to send a resume, score high on psychometric aptitude tests and do well on a job interview. But many applicants do not know about some important features used in HR that can either help you or prevent you from getting a job. One of these features is ATS – applicant tracking system used by most large employers. In this article we will tell you about ATS and why you need to think about it when making your resume.

We live in a world of technology. Today, the living environment is rapidly changing to a virtual one. More and more processes are being replaced by IT systems. Self-driving cars are being tested in the world. Cashiers, tellers, traders, analytics and many others jobs are replaced by robots. In HR machines and robots are already in full swing as well.

The fact is that today in order to get reviewed by an HR agent or employer, your resume must go through the IT algorithms of job sites or employers’ ATS. In order for the resume to pass a purely technical selection, it must contain the necessary (approved by the employer) keywords.

Therefore, at the stage of technical selection with a machine mechanism, no one will look at your experience and competencies. This is exactly about the question why HR supposedly doesn’t work. Everything is working. On one condition – if your resume corresponds to the ATS requirements.

Applicant tracking system (ATS)

Applicant tracking system (ATS) is an application software that allows HR agents and employers to automate the recruitment process, track each candidate and process information in accordance with the recruitment needs. Before ATS appeared HR agents of employers were overloaded with job tracking each candidate manually. HR departments needed dozens and even hundreds of employees. Today just a few HR agents can process information of hundreds of applicants with just a few clicks in the ATS. So, robots are here in HR indeed.

First what ATS does is resume selection. So, you must know this: your resume does not immediately gets to a responsible person with the employer. The ATS makes the primary selection and eliminates those applications that do not correspond to the vacancy requirements. Thus, if you do not correspond to the job requirements in most things you should be prepared to never receive any response. And this is not fault of the HR agent or employer. Basically, this is your fault of not knowing how to search for a job the right way.

So, what does ATS do?

First, the ATS scans your resume to find the data of the vacancy requirements. Then the resumes are ranked and ordered, and after that your resume goes to the recruiter in the new order.

That is why not only the content but also the format is important. If the format of your resume is not readable, then it is automatically screened out by the ATS system mechanisms, since every resume entering the system is reformatted.

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In order for the technical selection to be successful, you must have in your resume:

  • Structure
  • Simple headers
  • Same formatting
  • Keywords
  • The resume must be in PDF or DOC(DOCX) format.

Never send a link or a resume in graphic format (JPG, JPEG, PIF) through the ATS. It’s useless.

Ways to make your resume correspondent to the ATS requirements:

  • Read carefully the job requirements. Match it with the information on your resume. If there is an obvious similarity, you can submit your resume.
  • Note if the job requirements include knowledge of specialized software. If you have such knowledge, be sure to include it in your resume (these are the keywords).
  • If you see any abbreviations in the requirements for a vacancy, be sure to use them in your resume, if you have such knowledge. For example: SEО, PPC, E-mail-mailings, SMM, Google Analytics, SPO, EBITDA, OPEX, etc.

When there is no response to your resume, most job seekers begin to look for the reason in themselves and their competencies. Many people think that HR agents and systems like ATS do not work properly. However, they do work well. It’s just that the principle of their work has changed. And this is precisely because of the automation.

That is why adapt your resume based on what we have told you today, pay attention to the vacancy texts and keywords and your job search will become more effective.


On Aptitude-Tests-Practice you can find 1000s of psychometric aptitude tests for your practice and 100s of articles on job search tips, HR technologies and best employers. Remember: the more you prepare, the better your result will be. If you need to take pre-employment aptitude tests soon, spend 4-5 days practicing aptitude test on our website and you will be able to score high and show your best result.


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