An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software application that enables the electronic handling of recruitment needs. These systems are often called "robots" or "robot scanners." Applicant Tracking Systems are used to help ease the workload of recruiters and hiring managers.
The internet makes it fast and easy for job seekers to apply for jobs. In fact, job board sites like Monster, Indeed, SEEK, Careerone, among others allow job seekers to apply for a job using a saved resume with only one click.
Research on these sites show that for every corporate job posting there are up to 250 applications. Of these candidates, only 4 to 6 will be contacted for an interview. Imagine the cost and workload of screening these applications manually!
Applicant Tracking Systems are usually the first part of the recruitment screening process. They enable the recruiter or employer to process large numbers of applications efficiently and ranking how well each applicant matches the requirements of the job.
Recruiters decide on the key words for each individual position and program the ATS to look for those key words. Applications that do not have the key words will not move on to the next stage of the recruitment process.
The trick for candidates is to find and identify the key words and phrases required by the employer. One of the easiest ways to do this is to incorporate the key words used in the job posting or position description into your resume.
Times have changed! Not only do you need the desired skills, experience, and qualifications, you also need to format and write your resume to get past "robot scanners" that are searching for "key words" in your application.
BOTTOM LINE: NO "KEY WORDS" - NO INTERVIEW!