Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are here for the long-haul

Lately, I have been reading and researching a lot on “Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)” and how to best optimize resume and career documents for these computer recruiting systems.  But as I read through the pros and cons of these systems and what it takes to ensure that a resume makes it past the first round of cuts, I find myself torn as to the true validity of such a process for employment and recruitment needs.  Yes, it is true that these little handy software applications make the job for a recruiter and HR professional – who otherwise have to riffle through 100’s to 1000’s of documents – a little easier; but to what extent are these professionals truly locating the best of the best in the tremendous pool of applicants if an ATS is missing or re-organizing valuable candidate information?

I wonder just how many qualified and extremely well-suited candidates have been overlooked for a position just because their resume didn’t make it past the ATS and to a human eye.  Could this be the reason many employers are frustrated that they are having such a difficult time finding and keeping “good” employees?  How much time does an ATS really save a company if, in the end, they aren’t hiring the “best” candidate for the job?

My feelings aside; Applicant Tracking Systems are a part of the recruiting process and are not about to disappear anytime soon.  For this reason, I and every other person who writes a resume must consider how to best optimize their career documents for an ATS and a human-reader.

I am not going to write and tell you how to best optimize your resume for an ATS system – you can Google this for yourself and find valuable information and tools on how to do this!  What I am going to tell you is that in my opinion and as part of my recommendation to clients, you should have two separate and distinct resume documents.

It is recommended that:

1)      You have an ATS friendly resume document that is strategically tailored and designed to get you past the first screening process when a company makes use of ATS software and you are required to submit a document using their online submission process.

2)      You have a human-friendly custom designed resume document that stands-out from the competition, looks stunning to the human-eye, reads easily and showcases your true and unique value proposition in a way that an ATS simply cannot interpret.

What you do with these two distinct documents depends on your motivation level and interest for a particular job.  You can apply online and sit back, wait and hope to hear from the recruiter for an interview and bring your human-friendly resume with you to the interview (as part of your portfolio).

Or, if you are truly striving to get to the top of the candidate pool and secure a lasting impression with the company, then you will not only take advantage of submitting the ATS optimized resume document, but you will use your creativity, problem-solving and networking skills to find a way to ensure that a human-eye sees, reads and loves your human-friendly custom designed resume document. Take control of your destiny and make sure you get an interview!

Whether ATS systems are valuable or not, they are here for the long-haul.  What you choose to do with them and how you choose to get around them and stand-out from the crowd will be the determining factor in whether or not you get an interview with the company of your dreams!

Be Creative ~ Problem-Solve ~ Stand-Out ~ Network

These keywords should be the cornerstone to your job search approach and a technique for overcoming the dreaded and challenging ATS method of recruiting!

Thank you for reading my blog.  If you have any comments or would like to suggest a topic of interest, please contact me at  Have a nice day!