What is an Applicant Tracking System?
An applicant tracking system or ATS is a recruiting software that serves as a database for job applicants. Applicant tracking systems are used by companies to do the following functions:
- Search for compatible applicants
- Organize job applications
- Communicate with large talent pools
Many companies use ATS, from small businesses to top companies, such as the Fortune 500. This is because an ATS makes it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to manage and filter a sizable amount of job applicants.
Since most companies hire for multiple positions simultaneously, they receive thousands of job applications that might be impossible to read through one by one. This is where the ATS comes in, as it truly makes the hiring process quicker and more efficient. Using an ATS allows hiring managers to carry out resume parsing - a practice that allows them to consolidate, organize, and search within thousands of resumes. But what about the job candidates on the other side of the negotiation table? That’s what we’re here to discuss.
Applicant Tracking System Tips for Job Seekers
If you’re an applicant or job seeker who’s applying for a job opening at a mid-sized or larger-sized company, the chances are high that you’re applying through an applicant tracking system. Because job seekers often apply on a URL managed by the ATS, you probably recognize the top ATS companies, such as Jobvite, SmartRecruiters, iCIMS, Greenhouse, BambooHR & Workable.
This means that as an applicant, your resume might not be considered if it’s not optimally formatted or does not contain the right search terms or keywords that match the job description and required qualifications. Some ATS can even rank candidates by comparing job descriptions to the applicants’ uploaded resumes. This means that recruiters are likely to pick those that come out on top of these rankings. As a job seeker, ensure that your resume has the correct search terms for the specific job posting that you’re interested in. This means that you have to examine the job description and include top keywords in your resume.
Is there an applicant tracking system equivalent for job seekers?
The short answer is yes, there is!
They’re called job trackers, or job application trackers, and are the job seeker’s best option for getting on top of the ATS’ matching algorithm. They are similar to the same systems HR departments use to track applicants - but they’re specifically made for job seekers. They allow applicants to optimize their resumes by finding the right keywords in each job description, saving and organizing desired jobs, and managing statuses and follow-ups for each application. Briefly, here’s how you can ‘hack’ the ATS with the help of a great job tracker:
- Tailor your resume to fit the job description
- Use chronological/hybrid resume format.
- Use the right keywords to match skills in the job description
- Use both the long-form and acronym versions of keywords. For example: “Adept in content management systems (CMS)”
- No tables or columns
- Save your file as a .docx or .pdf if possible, as most ATS use this format
A Free Application Trackers for Job Seekers
We created the Teal Job Tracker to help you manage your job search. It’s a way to stay organized while staying on top of all your job applications. You can save any job from popular job boards, websites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor, as well as job openings you’ve discovered on your own. You can keep adding listings through an easy-to-use Chrome extension that will save all your job listings in an easy-to-use dashboard.
After you’ve saved a job description, Teal’s ‘keyword and skill analysis feature’ will analyze the listing and highlight keywords you can add to your resume. This will allow you to stand out against other candidates and beat applicant tracking systems. The dashboard feature is also super detailed, allowing you to see important details such as application status, follow-up, company, position, location, and your notes per listing.
While recruiters have applicant tracking systems, job seekers have job application trackers like Teal’s. In the same way that ATSs help recruiters and hiring managers sort through applicants, job trackers help job seekers optimize their resumes and communicate with recruiters that they are the right person for the job. Because we live in the digital age, it’s not enough to send out one-size-fits-all resumes and hope that interview invites come your way. The wiser move is to optimize your materials and stay on top of all your job applications to make sure you get the best opportunity for your skills and qualifications. If you’re currently looking for a job, we hope our job tracker tool can help you manage your job search for free and get through the ATS filters.