get your resume past an ats

What is an applicant tracking system (ATS) and how do you get past it?

What do you know about Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)?

Job seeking can sometimes be compared to throwing your resume into a black hole. You go through 100 listings on any job search website and complete the online application with zero results. Ever have that happen?

The problem is that you’re probably not putting the correct keywords into your resume.

When you hit “Submit” on an online application, it isn’t magically emailed to the hiring manager. It goes through this computer system that scrubs your resume for specific keywords that are found in the job description posted by the company. It also looks for years of experience and education, among other things.

Know your audience & have a back-up plan

Your resume must be written to impress 2 audiences — the ATS and a hiring manager. Having a document that speaks to a computer and a human being can be a daunting task. Many resume writers will tell you that you need to stand out in the sea of sameness by adding some personality to your resume through design.

The name of the game is to always have your resume at the top of the stack.

Some resume No-No's related to the ATS

Once you’ve narrowed down your target career path and are getting ready to apply for jobs it’s important to be sure your resume will not be rejected. 

Here are some tips to help make sure your resume won’t end up in a digital nowhere land:

  • Jargon and buzzwords: (1) they are probably not lending any value to your resume that will get you past the ATS and hiring managers hate seeing “experienced go-getter,” self-motivated,” and “dedicated, reliable individual.”
  • Overly designed resumes: Many job seekers feel like they’ll stand out from the crowd by having a creative-looking resume. The fact is that ATS cannot properly parse information from these resumes as they can’t read the information in text boxes, graphs, charts, tables, nor can they read images. If the ATS can’t read it, it will be rejected.
  • Font & margins: Make sure you’re using the right font, keep the font size to at least 10pt, and have margins that are no less than 1/2″. Some acceptable fonts are: Calibri, Cambria, Garamond, Tahoma, Trebuchet, and Veranda.

Help is available, if you need it. Send us your current resume for a free review.

Of course, all of this can be a lot to take in — especially considering that we haven’t even talked about accomplishments, certifications, publications, honors, and projects. If you need help, drop us a line.

    use networking on linkedin to land your dream job

    How to find your dream job by networking and getting job referrals using LinkedIn

    A resume is the most common and necessary item when searching for a job. However, it’s not the only thing in your toolbox. This is where networking and job referrals come in. One, or both, of these things can easily get you a job.

    Most people prefer hunting for jobs on their own. Sometimes, though, it’s important to make your job search easy by leveraging your network. For instance, a job referral from your network on LinkedIn can help you expose your resume to the appropriate recruiters, headhunters, and hiring managers.

    In this article, we cover essential things to help you land your dream job.

    Quick statistics

    • Job referrals are 50% more likely to get you an interview
    • About 40% percent of referred candidates get their dream job
    • Networking is responsible for 80% percent of all jobs

    Networking and job referrals

    Networking is all about finding the right people to connect with and build a good reputation. Do not underestimate your network on LinkedIn, because therein lies vital connections.

    How do you find and build a network

    It is understandable that not everyone will have a ready-made network to capitalize on. Your first step will be to search for the company that has the job you want. Click through to see the list of their employees.

    In the spirit of understanding before asking to be understood, don’t jump right into asking for help with finding a new job when you reach out to these people. Build a good rapport with them, then introduce the conversation about your job search later.

    What happens if you don’t know anyone at the new company?

    They may know someone with whom you’re connected. If they do, then that’s a great person to reach out to. Mention knowing/how you know the mutual connection to help you build a good rapport with the third-party contact. Doing so will make it easy for you to request a job referral.

    Other ESSENTIAL ways to help you network on LinkedIn

    Join LinkedIn Groups

    The fun part of LinkedIn is the various groups where you can find like-minded individuals to connect with. Be smart by joining some interesting LinkedIn groups. You’ll be able to see what members post and know how best to interact with them. It will also help you to learn how to engage with others through your posts in the group.

    After some time, you should be able to share appropriate information and connect easily with group members to build your network. You should learn to encourage one-on-one conversation through your engaging posts. Go ahead and invite members of the group to share their experiences. Your posts should be geared towards the benefit of many group members. However, you should make personal comments in direct messages.

    Respond to posts

    Responding to other people’s posts is a great aspect of networking. This will help you expose your profile to many people. The posts you respond to can receive recommendations from LinkedIn with huge traffic. People who like your may have connections who are likely to see the post as well. As a result, you may get new connections, enabling you to increase your network on LinkedIn.


    Using LinkedIn to network and search for referrals may just be the key to landing to taking the next successful step on your career journey.

    If you need help perfecting your LinkedIn profile, let us know and we’ll get to work with you on it.