[INFOGRAPHIC] How an Applicant Tracking System Reads Your Resume

Have you ever wondered what happens to your resume when you apply online?  Well, today’s employers receive a steady stream of applications from job seekers for each open position.  Those employers can’t go through every resume they receive (imagine how many thousands of resumes are in the system); therefore, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) exist to manage, scan, and track candidate resumes.

What you need to know:  While an ATS will certainly save time for the employer, job candidates unaware of the ins and outs of this technology will likely experience difficulties.  It is important for applicants to understand how this technology works.  After all, if a resume isn’t properly optimized for an ATS, it might not make it to the employer’s desk.  You wouldn’t want that to happen, would you?

I love how technology continues to change how we share information and the use of infographic data has become all the rage in our ever-evolving digital landscape.  Check out the infographic below, compiled by Resunate, the world’s only search engine optimizing resume builder, offers a look into what happens to your resume after you hit send – and how you can work with the system.

Is your resume optimized for Applicant Tracking System success?


28 thoughts on “[INFOGRAPHIC] How an Applicant Tracking System Reads Your Resume

      1. Scott,

        Thanks for the comment. That would make for a good post! Care to submit a guest article? Please see the guidelines found in the menu bar at the top of the page.



  1. Yes, doing keyword searches is one way for employers to use their applicant tracking system, but not the only way. Applicants should also know that the parser separates the content and filters it into a standard profile. Recruiters have the ability to go in and look at each individual profile and related resume (which IMO they should be doing and not just a keyword search). This way when recruiters are reviewing profiles they can see name, location, desired salary, education, etc. in a consistent format making it easier/faster for them to screen out candidates on a high level – this is especially important in high volume recruiting.

    That said, it is important for the candidate to make sure their profile and resume are formatted in a way that allows the ATS to parse all of the information and stick it in the right field in their profile.

    More specifically, candidates should upload a Word doc (not PDF!), don’t use tables, and keep the margins, bullets, and indentations simple. Also, don’t put important information like your name and contact info in a header or footer. You can always give a fancier copy of your resume at an in person interview.


    1. Carolyn,

      This is excellent advice. I’m finding that students are actually being told to PDF their resumes while still in college. While each ATS is different, it’s a good idea to keep the resume formatted as simply as possible. There are many that can read PDF now, but the advice on a header/footer is great. Thank you!



  2. Nice article Kirk. It makes you realize where you can get chucked out in the process.
    Would love to read an article on planting such keywords in a resume sometime soon.

    Definitely worth sharing!!


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