Please forgive me, Job Seeker, but I’m going to use a dirty word.


ATS, or the Applicant Tracking System, is both loved and hated, depending on the user. As a job seeker, ATS can create anger or frustration, and rightfully so. After all, ATS is the Digital Gatekeeper, blocking the entrance to your next dream job. You can smell it! You can taste it! But you can’t quite get there. What is the deal???!

Why ATS?

ATS was created to help recruiters and hiring managers more efficiently manage the onslaught of resumes received for each job post. Imagine for a moment – you’re a recruiter with 10 open jobs. On average, you receive 250 resumes per post. Add to this that only 5% or so of all candidates are even close to being qualified, and the recruiter is left with quite a pile to review, even if it’s true they spend only 6-8 seconds on each.

Far from Perfect

ATS is not without flaws, however. Most people find the process dehumanizing, because you can be supremely qualified for a role but passed over because your resume isn’t an 80% or higher match to the details of the job description. It is decidedly unfair.

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Can ATS Be Avoided?

One prospect told me a few days ago that she hates ATS and won’t submit herself to the process. She also stated she plans to use the LinkedIn and Glassdoor job boards. This makes no sense. Can’t have it both ways!

Executives tend to avoid ATS by relying on their networks to provide referrals into top-notch jobs. But – once the executive has exhausted that network, job boards are the logical next step to keeping the job search going. Ergo, even executives must deal with ATS at some point. Most non-executive professionals haven’t built up impressive networks that can be relied on, but it doesn’t hurt for any job seeker to try tapping his or her network first…you just don’t know whether someone you know can’t refer you to an open job.

The Solution

What can you do? We use specific, customized techniques with our job seeking clients to ensure they not only pass ATS filters but speak directly to the job being applied for. One of the biggest complaints from recruiters is that resumes are not tailored to the job, rendering the resume useless, which is precisely why the “accepted” number, mentioned earlier, is just 5%.

So it bears repeating: If you’re a job seeker using job boards, you MUST tailor your resume to each and every job to which you apply. Otherwise, your resume is rejected and you’ve just wasted a whole bunch of time and energy.

Pain in the ass? Absolutely. But it’s how the game is played in 2020, so you’ve got to get on board if you want to be hired.

Contact me for help!

Published By

Victoria Ipri

Victoria Ipri

Writing Exceptional Resumes for Executives and Middle Management • I Speak Fluent LinkedIn! Profile Makeovers for Job Seekers and LinkedIn Content, Marketing and Management for Small Businesses