Applicant Tracking Systems: A Guide for Job Seekers

Written by sam smith  »  Updated on: July 07th, 2024

Applicant Tracking Systems: A Guide for Job Seekers

Do you ever wonder how an employer goes through hundreds of job applications every day without missing even one? Do you think they just toss away half of the applications? Because it is humanly impossible to thoroughly go through every resume that comes through applications towards the company. The recruiters surely do not possess any magical powers, they possess magical software though, named applicant tracking systems. This is software that works like magic for recruiters. Let us learn how this happens. 

Brief introduction 

In the USA itself, some companies receive applications hundreds in a week. If we go a little further, many companies receive more than a hundred applications daily. So what do these companies do? These companies simply install an applicant tracking system. This system is software made to track the hiring process for the company. No matter how many applications a company receives, all are handled very well by the ATS Application. So, it will not be a new piece of information if we tell you that your application will pass through this software if you are applying to any company in the USA. But did you know you will get rejected by it too? We will tell you in this blog how this might happen and how to prevent being rejected by this software. 

What is an ATS? 

An ATS is nothing but software designed to ease the hiring process for the company. It is a software that technically handles all the clerical work related to the hiring process. This can include screening the resumes, sorting them according to job profile, scheduling interviews with the candidates and much more. Thus, enterprise applicant tracking systems are software built to simplify the hiring process for the company. 

Basic features of an ATS 

The applicant tracking system works based on the following features-

The applicant tracking system in the USA allows the company to source applicants from various resources. It allows to source candidates from various job boards, job sites social media platforms and even references from existing employees. 

The ATS has a storage system in which it stores the data of the candidates who are not even selected but have applied to the company. This allows the company to refer and contact these candidates in future if needed for different job profiles in the same company. 

The ATS system provides a detailed report to the company regarding its hiring strategy and what else can be improved. 

The ATS handles the hiring process from the very beginning. The employer only needs to feed the type of candidate they need for this job. The rest is done by the software. From creating an ideal profile for the job to posting it on various sites on the internet, ATS does it all. It even handles the interview scheduling and the onboarding process of the company. 

How does an ATS work? 

You might be wondering how this ATS system works. The answer is simple- with efficiency. Every ATS software has different features but they work in more or less a similar manner. The process is as follows 

The process starts when the recruiter feeds the software with information about the candidate they are looking for. The software creates an ideal profile according to the information fed into it. 

Once the company starts receiving applications, the software scans the resumes and stores them. Then it segregates them based on the keywords. Keywords are the phrases or words that the recruiter wishes to find in the application of the candidate. They can be related to a particular skill, location of work or even educational qualification. 

The ATS system then reduces the number of resumes by rejecting the applications which do not contain keywords. To decrease the number of applications further, the software looks at the yes-no questions further. They may contain questions like ‘Can you start working immediately?’ or ‘Will you be able to work at a particular location?’ and so on. It rejects the candidates with unfavourable answers. 

The remaining candidate resumes are forwarded to the recruiter. The recruiter sees them and commands the software to schedule interviews with the desired candidates. 

How to make your resume ATS-friendly? 

You might have understood from the above points how as ATS system works. But wouldn’t it be disheartening to get rejected by the applicant tracking system just because you missed using some important words? Do not worry, we’ve got your back. We have a few tips for you that will help your resume pass through the applicant tracking system- 


As you might have figured out, the ATS does not understand what you want to say or express through the words you are putting in your resume. It just scans and selects you based on the keywords. So, read the job description carefully and find the words that are repetitive or are important and are expected by the employer. This will help you pass through the ATS system. But, do not overpower your resume by filling it with keywords. This might make it look fake and forced. Use it only when required. 

Stay up-to-date 

Keep your resume updated. Do not submit the same resume in every application. Make the resume according to the job description. Even if you are applying for jobs in the same field, every recruiter has different expectations of you. So, you should always update the resume according to the job post you are applying for. Submitting the same resume everywhere can easily be rejected by the ATS system as it is not according to the job description. 

Avoid using fancy fonts

Now this might sound like too much of a restriction but an ATS cannot read very fancy fonts. It is unable to figure out what is written and instantly rejects you. So it is better to use traditional fonts like Times New Roman or Roboto. These fonts are easy to scan for the ATS and figure out the keywords. 

Use usual headlines 

The applicant tracking system will not understand you using ‘where I have worked’ instead of ‘experiences’. So it is better to use predictable and usual headings for the ATS system like educational qualifications, experiences, expectations, and similar. 

Keep it short and simple 

Do not stretch your application unnecessarily. Specify relevant skills needed for the job rather than mentioning other things that might be irrelevant. Avoid using graphics and tables. It is unlikely for the ATS to be able to scan the graphs and tables. On the other hand, it will complicate the scanning process and may even miscommunicate. It will also increase the size of your resume and make it look bulky. So, if you desire to pass ahead from the ATS system, keep your application short and simple. 


Applicant tracking system holds the future of the hiring process of companies. Even the smallest companies in the USA have an applicant tracking system for scanning resumes. Hence, it is better to understand the workings of the ATS system and draft your resumes accordingly. Most companies opt for the best ATS system in the market like Pitch N Hire. This allows the company to have flawless results while hiring candidates for the company. 

We are sure we guided you well through this blog on what is an applicant tracking system and how can you make your resume ATS-friendly. 

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