There is a lot of information about the causes of ATS rejection of job applicants. Some of it is correct and some of it is conjecture passed on with good intentions, but without an understanding of the facts. The following are the key reasons for rejection or non-response by ATS.
Qualification. Many times applicants are simply not qualified.
Key words. Sometimes people ignore using key words exactly as written in job descriptions or fail to use them in context.
ATS parsers. ATS parsers cannot extract text located inside graphics. Frequently resumes are created using word processing shortcuts comprised of graphics embedded into the document. Borders, headers, footers, tables, charts or text boxes that contain text are typical examples. For instance, if a name and/or contact information is located inside a header, ATS will not know who the person is or how to contact them. If skills or other information is listed in a table, ATS will not know it is there. If a border is used, nothing will be read.
Columns. Some people use text columns to format a resume. ATS parsing software reads data across the full page, one line at a time. This jumbles columnar information into sentences that make no sense.
PDF files. Most ATS software cannot read PDF files. Although some providers claim they can, what they fail to say is "converted PDF files". There are two types of PDF files, Native and Scanned, plus many variants. How are you to know which variant your file is? And how are you to know if your resume will be scrutinized by an ATS that is capable of reading PDF files?
The bottom line. For the best online application success, use keywords exactly as written in job descriptions, do not use word processing creation tools, and don't apply online with a PDF file. When applying online, use txt or doc files. And make sure you are qualified before you apply.
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