EP 1137 Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter offers and idea for how to beat the applicant tracking system and get more interviews.

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Amazingly, defeating the applicant tracking system involves cover letters, something that is such an anachronism in these modern times that, for most people, it is a complete waste. For an applicant tracking system, I think it is the way to defeat them. Here's how it goes.

Most people use cover letter as a separate attachment, right? That's not really good help you with an applicant tracking system and, if you put in the body of an email, that won't help an applicant tracking system either. Finally for second.

What I encourage people to do is take a job description that you know exists, like you are submit a resume because you saw an ad, you don't have the time or inclination to track down the hiring manager or network to the hiring manager you're actually going to submit your resume through the applicant tracking system. God bless you and this is the best thing I can suggest to you.

You make page 1 of your resume the cover letter. Slide everything down the page. Thus, your resume actually begins on page 2. Page 1 of your resume as a section that is in 2 columns. The left column has the job description; the right column has how long and how recently you've work with that particular skill. Here's how it defeats the system.

The systems are generally looking at page 1 and maybe the beginning of page 2 4 how your background meshes with the job. Everything of the job description is now on page 1, right? After all, everything that they're looking for – – role, responsibilities, accomplishments, if you're in IT, the technology that you've used – – is part of what you are using this list. They are going to tell them how long and how recently you've work with it.

Everything is on page 1. It causes the system to choke. It causes the system to say, "this person looks like a fit."

At the end of the day, if you are going to submit your resume to an applicant tracking system, use a cover letter as page 1, following this format that I'm suggesting and I'm sure you will get more interviews.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for what more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1100 episodes,“ Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Visit www.TheBigGameHunter.us and click the relevant tab on the top of the page.

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.  

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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