As a serious job seeker who is searching for a good job, at the sight of a job advert you are qualified for, you will agree with me that the next sensible thing is to apply for the job and stay positive for a good feedback.

After your application and expectancy, you realize how quickly days turns into weeks and weeks into months. Still no feedback from that big multinational company you applied to for a job. You keep wondering and you ask yourself ‘what did I do wrong?’. If you’re in this position, I wrote this article just for you.

But before we start, have you ever heard of Applicant Tracking system? Do you know how it operates? According to Wikipedia, Applicant Tracking System known as ATS, is a software application that enables the electronic handling of recruitment needs. An ATS is very similar to customer relationship management (CRM) systems, but are designed for recruitment tracking purposes. In many cases, they filter applications automatically based on given criteria such as keywords, skills, former employers, years of experience and schools attended. This has caused many to adapt résumé optimization techniques similar to those used in search engine optimization when creating and formatting their résumé.

Apart from the fact that it helps simplify the work of an HR person, it also helps to ensure objectivity in selection of the best candidate. Some of this ATS are programmed to give feedback if one doesn’t get shortlisted. This I think is actually good to enable applicants know their fate early and not waste time on something that won’t yield result.

Let’s look further to how an Applicant Tracking System works.

1. It Thrives on Keywords and Phrases

As a job applicant, keywords and phrases goes a long way in getting shortlisted for an interview. The best way to go about it is to try as much as possible not to use expected generic words or phrase. I will call it random words. Try as much as possible to use unique keywords or phrases but also bear in mind that the word must be relevant to the job you are applying for. You can also review your CV to match the job description because they are some keywords for every job description.

2. It Can’t Read Fancy Font

This is not a time to show your creativity as a designer by using different fonts. Stick to the normal font throughout. Fonts like Arial, Times roman or Calibri. ATS can’t read fancy fonts. It is designed to operate this way because ATS requires simplicity at its best. Making use of different fonts brings confusion and this won’t enable your resume to be shortlisted.

3. It is Allergic to Spelling Mistakes

This cannot be over emphasized. Spelling mistakes shows how one is not well detailed and also says a lot about how capable the person in question is or could be. ATS does not have time to have a second thought of whether it is just a mistake and the person is actually capable. It is a software, more like a robot. It has been programmed that way to check for spelling errors in CV and later discard them. So try not to be a victim of this situation. Therefore, so double, triple, and quadruple checks on your resume before sending it in. Have someone else do the same. Spelling mistakes can be easily avoided if you’re careful. Microsoft Word has a spelling check and grammar check capability, utilize this tool.

4. It Been Programmed to see some Certain Regular Words

In this regard, try not to change some of the normal words in your resume like Work experience, career objective amongst others. All these words are given a specific word that are needed to be seen. Changing them will make the tracking system skip it. So don’t change work experience for career achievement or employment experience. This will do you no good in getting shortlisted for the job.

On a final note, before you even start applying for job, please try as much as possible to understand the job description. I understand most job applicants are quick to push the apply/submit button for a job because you need to get your life moving. First go through the job description process then make sure your resume fits into this particular job before you apply.

Never have a generic CV for all job applications. Your CV should be dynamic to always fit each job application. This is necessary in order not to waste your effort on something that won’t yield result for you.

All the best!