How Do Applicant Tracking Systems Work? |

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
How does an ATS work? How do you get your resume through the ATS? Let me explain.

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So how does an applicant tracking system or ATS work? It’s really pretty simple. What it is, is just a system that’s designed to identify people who fit a job description. So how does it work, it’s really very simple. A job requirement is entered into the system and it’s going to include information about the position like the title, required experience, and desired skills. Then the system or an individual will use this information to create a profile of an ideal candidate. Thus, whencropped-whats-your-problem-1.jpg you submit a resume, it parses, sorts, and ranks it based on how well your resume matches this profile.

And, you know, again, some systems are going to automatically reject, which is why they became known as the black hole. But more likely, there’s going to be amongst the, I’ll call them rejects, for lack of a better term, a human component for many people, where they’re going to do a quick scan to see whether or not you know, a person actually fits the job description, and the system missed. That’s not always going to happen. But it’s going to happen more than you imagine.

What a system does is allows someone to manage huge amounts of data, meaning your resumes, in order to quickly identify people who might fit. And thus, the key for you to get more results from submitting a resume if you’re going to foolishly apply for jobs is having more of the keywords exactly like the term is in the job description in your resume.

So for example, if they use a slash title, programmer/developer, you want to use that term, a couple of times in your resume. If it just refers to a programmer, you want to use that term a couple of times. If there’s specific technology th,ey want to see this specific technology on and on and on. Don’t make it think because it doesn’t. And there’s no guarantee there’s going to be human intervention behind the scenes to get you in the door as though there’s going to be discernment. So make it easy for a dumb system to recognize that you fit.

I hope you found this helpful. I’m Jeff Altman. Visit my website, which is There’s a ton there on the blog that will help you. In addition, you can schedule time for a free discovery call, schedule time for a coaching session, find out about my courses, books, and guides. There’s just a lot there that’ll help you. Also connect with me on Linkedin at Have a terrific day and be great!

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

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2400 episodes.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? People hire me to provide No BS career advice whether that is about a job search, hiring better, leadership, management or support with a workplace issue. Schedule a discovery call at my website, 

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