Ways to get your resume into the hands of a recruiter.

Dec 13, 2018 / By Kennet Alphy

Resume design

What are Resume screening systems and why are they bad for job seekers?

Applicant Tracking System (ATS) became popular during the late 1990s, into the early 2000s and now almost any every company uses one. If you have ever uploaded your resume online, or filled in an online application form, you’ve encountered one.

These screening systems remove the need for a human being to review every single resume that comes in. So, for recruiters and HR folks, they’re a lifesaver. But for you, they’re a real problem.

That’s because a computer can never be as good as a human at spotting the best applicants. So, unless you are savvy about getting around them, these systems can steal opportunities from you – even when you have the perfect qualifications.

Here are the top 3 ways to beat the resume screening systems and ensure you get as many interviews as you can.


Follow the instructions of the company If the company, if they want text-only, that’s what you must provide.

No company who uses a resume screening system will ever ask for your resume in a different format. You’ll never be asked to upload your resume in Mac Pages, for example, or as a jpeg, or in MS Works format. I’ve received resumes created in all these formats, and none of them can be used properly by automated scanning systems.

So, to beat the screening systems, the first step is to upload your resume in either MS Word or text-only format.


Resume screening systems are quite simple when you understand how they work. The recruiter or HR professional has programmed the system to check for crucial qualifications. If the software scans your resume and finds what it’s looking for, you have a good chance of getting it read by a human. But if the scan doesn’t show what they need, your resume will be siphoned off into the ‘no’ pile.

But how do you know what keywords the system is looking for? In most cases, the clues will be right in the job posting. Go through the posting with a highlighter pen and mark any required skills, experiences or qualifications.


In most cases, you can use the Internet to find out the name of someone within the company. For example, you could check your LinkedIn network to see if you have any contacts with friends at the company. If so, ask for an introduction and then find out the name of the hiring manager.

Let’s say you’re applying for a marketing assistant position, you could search for the company’s marketing manager, marketing director or even marketing VP.

Finally, there’s the good old-fashioned telephone. Just call reception and ask for the name of the marketing manager or VP.

Once you have a name, you can submit your resume directly to that person.

I recommend doing this by snail mail. (People receive so few letters these days, that most will open them). These are just a couple of ideas. Once you start thinking about it, you’ll come up with others. The key is to think creatively rather than just accepting the rules.

You may be wondering if doing this will annoy some hiring managers. To which I say: it’s possible. Some people don’t like creative applications, but most will admire your initiative and determination – and wouldn’t you rather work for a company like that?


Despite their failings, resume screening systems are here to stay, which means that you have to work out a way to beat them. These three strategies will put you head and shoulders above most other job seekers.


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