It’s hard to get a human to read your résumé these days.

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is increasingly taking the place of human job application screeners. The computer compares your résumé, and sometimes your cover letter, to the posted job description.

If your résumé doesn’t fit the job description, then it is filtered out. It never gets seen. Potentially, thousands of applications are filtered out for every job posting.

Getting a job still hinges on the decision of a human. But you don’t have a chance if your application is never seen by a decision-maker.

So, how do you get your résumé in front of a real person?

Read on.

What is an ATS?

Most big companies and over a third of small companies use an ATS. This number is growing quickly, especially with the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which we’ll discuss in a bit.

The ATS concept is simple. It’s like a spotlight, highlighting those résumés that most closely match the terms (keywords) in the job description.

For example, if the posted job application is for a Technical Writer, then the ATS puts the spotlight on those whose résumés contain the words “Technical Writer.” Those without that keyword are left in the dark.

This keyword-matching process continues step-by-step, keyword-by-keyword until only those résumés with the most matches are left in the glow of the spotlight.

The decision-making humans see only the applications that best match the job description. If you make it this far, you’re in good shape. You’ve got a chance.

Note that in large ATS systems, the rest of the applications are not deleted. They are kept for matching to other job postings. Someone may offer you a different job in the future. But if you don’t match up to the particular job you just applied for, you’re out of the competition.

What Does an ATS Do?

Let’s take a look at the whole ATS process to see how it works.

Job Posting and Distribution

A modern ATS posts job listings online. It can also distribute the postings to multiple platforms for a wider audience.

Receiving Applications

The ATS collects and organizes the applications received. There are often accompanying forms or questionnaires filled out, which are saved and processed with the job seeker’s résumé and cover letter.

Resume Parsing and Storage

At this point, the ATS extracts the information it needs—contact details, work experience, education, skills, etc.—and puts it into a standardized format.

Then, it all goes into a computer database for safekeeping and easy access.

Candidate Screening and Ranking

The database contents, including your application, are automatically screened on specific search criteria. These criteria come from the job description and include keywords, skills, former employers, job titles, and educational background.

Candidates are ranked on how closely they fit the criteria.

Generic résumés and cover letters don’t work in the ATS world. They seldom match the job description precisely enough.

This is why you must tailor both your cover letter and résumé to the job description.

Applicant Tracking

Each candidate’s status is tracked throughout the hiring process: Application received, under review, interview scheduled, offer extended or rejected.

Wherever you are in the system, they can find you if they want you.

Communication with Candidates

The ATS sends automated emails at several stages of the process: receipt of the application, candidate status updates, and interview scheduling.

Reporting and Analytics

Like any database, recruiters and hiring managers can order reports from the ATS. They can learn about the number of applicants, sources of best candidates, time-to-hire, and whatever recruitment metrics they need.

Integration with Other HR Systems

The ATS doesn’t exist in isolation. It integrates with other HR systems for background checks, onboarding, and employee management. For the company using the ATS, it can seamlessly move a candidate from application to employment.

How is AI Changing the ATS process?

AI is already radically transforming the ATS process. It is enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of recruitment.

  • Résumé screening analysis is deeper and more contextually aware than traditional keyword-based systems. It can interpret a cover letter’s or résumé’s phrasing and assess the relevancy of your experience. The good news is that this helps prevent a qualified candidate from being overlooked.
  • Predicting outcomes is something AI does fairly well. This helps when estimating the likelihood of a candidate accepting a job offer, their future performance, and how well they may fit into the business’s team and culture.
  • AI ATS can proactively search for candidates who haven’t even applied yet. These systems can scour online job boards, profiles, and social media. With this information, the system can automatically invite these candidates to apply.
  • AI can automatically book an interview with a prospective candidate. It coordinates with the calendars of both parties and sets up the meeting. No humans in the loop.
  • Paperwork, training schedules, and other routine onboarding practices can be automated. This takes the pressure off the new employee and helps HR standardize its data operations.

Defeating ATS

Applicant tracking systems are here to stay and changing fast.

Artificial Intelligence is making automated recruitment more effective. It’s better for the applicant and the hiring company. You may be asked to apply for a job you didn’t even know existed.

This is AI’s power.

AI also has the power to help you overcome an ATS filter.

Our service, AIApply, offers a complete AI job placement platform.

All AIApply documents are ATS-friendly. Cover letters and résumés, follow-up emails, and everything else are tailored to you and the position you are seeking. All the proper ATS formatting is done for you.

Free AI Cover Letter

You can get a free AI Cover Letter today.

Here’s how our free AI Cover Letter Kit works.

  1. Sign in for free.
  2. Upload your current CV or résumé.
  3. Enter the URL of a job post or upload the text of a job description.
  4. Choose the tone and style of your AI-generated cover letter: Informal, semi-casual, neutral, semi-formal, or formal.
  5. Click the “Generate Cover Letter” button.

After a few moments, your résumé-inspired, job-post-specific AI Cover Letter is ready for you to copy or download as a PDF.

Want even more? Our Premium Upgrade gives you access to our entire Job Application Kit:

  • AI Cover Letters
  • AI Résumé Builder
  • AI Professional Headshots
  • AI-matched Job Search (top companies worldwide)
  • AI Interview Buddy (answers to interview questions)
  • AI Job Post Answers (form fill-in)
  • AI Résumé Translator

You can even share your résumé online for free.

Next Steps

ATS is the reality of top-job recruitment.

Given the power to conquer ATS, you are 80% more likely to get hired if you use AIApply.

Do you have any questions? Email us! We’re here to help.

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