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The ATS Myths You Must Know as a Job Seeker

You vs ATS?

How much do you know about how the ATS works? Is that relevant to your resume and job applications?

If you're eager to learn the truth from someone who actually uses different applicant tracking systems and CRM, read this post.

ATS is undoubtedly a buzzword among job seekers for a while now, as you probably know, but it's also misused for spreading myths and misinformation. You've also probably heard that "the ATS is a filtering enemy that keeps resumes away from the eyes of HR folks." And you've probably spent enough time obsessing about this enemy that you don't know what to do with your resume anymore.

Well, stop right now.

ATS-compliancy is not a thing (as many people who never worked in recruiting or HR want you to think), and here is why:

🟢 An actual human always reads your resume.

Anyone who has ever worked in HR or recruiting will tell you the same. The only way to get automatically rejected is to fail to answer knockout questions in your application favourably (which often means – not meeting specific qualification requirements).

🟢 The resume format is not usually the problem.

You can easily write your own resume and make it easier for parsing by removing heavy formatting, but the problem is usually not there. Nowadays, the majority of ATS reads all formats well. Having an ATS-perfect resume will not get you an interview; the thoughtful and powerful resume CONTENT will.

So, what should you do?

🟢 Focus on what you write – target the position you want.

🟢 Differentiate yourself from the competition with your accomplishments – use metrics.

🟢 Don't let anyone scare you into buying their ATS-friendly resume formats or services.

The ATS varies by company. There are dozens of different ATS - some systems rank resumes based on meeting the requirement a recruiter typed in, and other systems only save all resumes.

For example, if the basic requirement (keyword) is project management, and you use it on your resume (of course, if you have that experience), in the recruiters' searches you will rank higher compared to those who don't have it. But, those who don't have it will NOT be automatically rejected by the ATS unless there is a knockout question during the application that asks for this specific skill.

Rejection has nothing to do with parsing, recent ATS parse all formats well, even text boxes; also, many ATS show the resume document attached in its original form, as a part of the applicant's profile in the database.

Some ATS have ranking ability (and this has been present since ~2010), but recruiters either disable it (I did that all the time) or ask you during the application process to opt in/out of your resume being ranked. If you are applying and you answer all the application questions (usually at the end) favourably, it means you are qualified, and your resume will 100% be seen by recruiters—so the ranking would not matter anyway.

Remember, HUMANS decide to proceed or stop your application, not the ATS. So any promise that makes your resume "beat the ATS or pass the ATS" is just false.

Focus on highlighting accomplishments on your resume and apply only for roles you are qualified for, that's all.

Check out the file below for more info on how the ATS works.

Let me know if the ATS still worries you. As someone who worked in dozens of those and helped implement a dozen more, I hope to reassure you. Message me.

Work smarter, not harder. 🍀


P.S. In case you need professional assistance, here is how I can help you:



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