A Student Guide to Applicant Tracking Systems

There’s a hidden barrier between you and your dream job, and it prevents up to 95% of job applications from ever crossing the hiring manager’s desk: the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). ATS is a software system that analyzes multiple components of a job application and passes along only the most promising applications to the hiring manager. Luckily, there are concrete steps you can take to ensure that your resume will make it past the ATS, and Quinncia is here to help.

What exactly is ATS? 

  • ATS have a range of functions: they serve as the site where jobs are posted and applications are collected, they conduct performance assessments such as resume analysis and video interviews, and they can even predict employee performance.
  • The resume analysis function of ATS presents the largest hurdle for job applicants to overcome, as on average 97% of employers require applicants to submit a resume or complete a similar assessment, and 70-80% of candidates whose applications are run through ATS are rejected because of their resume.

Why do employers use it?

  • Employers use ATS technology because it allows them to receive and process thousands of applications in a very short amount of time. Because the ATS rejects candidates automatically, employees only have to evaluate the most qualified applicants. 

Examples of ATS employers use? 

  • Indeed.com
  • Linkedin
  • Glassdoor

Common areas of resume improvement

  • There are many improvements you can make on your resume that give it a higher chance of clearing the ATS system. For example, you can ensure that your file format and resume structure is readable by ATS, your section titles, education, and work experience are properly formatted, and finally that your achievements are emphasized using action verbs and keywords. 
  • While checking off all the items in the list will give you a high likelihood of making it past the ATS’s resume analysis, it is important that your resume effectively tells your story, so it is also crucial to discuss your resume with an advisor who can help craft your narrative.

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