How ATS sees your resume and CV

In the ever-evolving landscape of seeking opportunities, mastering the functionalities of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) becomes a compass guiding candidates through the complexities of modern recruitment. These automated tools stand as important filters, managing the initial stages of candidate selection and reshaping the hiring landscape.

In this insightful guide, we embark on a thorough exploration of ATS functionality, unraveling the intricacies from scanning methods to ranking criteria. As job seekers navigate the competitive job market, understanding how ATS processes their resumes emerges not only as a necessity but as a strategic imperative for those aiming to thrive in this digital era of talent acquisition.

To understand how an ATS processes your resume, first we have to understand how it works. In this post we will cover:

  1. How Does ATS Work?
  2. Resume Parsing: Issues Surrounding Information Extraction
  3. Ranking and Filtering Criteria
  4. Benchmark of the top 5 ATS

1- How Does ATS Work?

Think of an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) as the behind-the-scenes organizer, making the whole hiring process smoother and faster. Vidcruiter breaks down the three key functions an ATS does, keeping things simple and effective.

a- Coordinating the Approval and Responsibilities for a New Role

An ATS makes the job requisition process straightforward. It creates an automated workflow with clear notifications to simplify what can be a complex process. Hiring managers use a single form to craft a job requisition, including the job description and approval workflow. This means everyone involved is on the same page, making the entire process more efficient and transparent.

b- Posting a New Job Online

ATS systems enable employers to effortlessly share new job openings on their careers page and external job boards. These systems, especially the more advanced ones, go a step further by gauging the effectiveness of each distribution channel. With one-click functionality, they can automate the distribution process, ensuring that the job reaches a wider audience seamlessly and efficiently.

c- Receiving and Sorting Resumes

At the heart of an ATS is its capability in handling resumes efficiently. After a job is posted, the system automatically receives and organizes all the resumes. In simple terms, It's like having a helper that quickly looks at each resume and puts them into groups based on things like qualifications and experience.

ATS software utilizes advanced algorithms to scan and analyze resumes submitted by applicants. The scanning process involves parsing through the document, extracting key information, and categorizing it for easy retrieval. This automated curation allows recruiters to swiftly assess the suitability of a candidate based on predefined criteria, significantly reducing the time and effort required for manual screening.

2- Resume Parsing: Issues Surrounding Information Extraction

Despite its revolutionary impact on the hiring process, ATS technology faces its own set of challenges, particularly in the realm of resume parsing. This process, the engine that extracts crucial information from resumes, carries both promise and pitfalls. The landscape is riddled with potential stumbling blocks, ranging from formatting discrepancies to the use of non-standard sections and unconventional fonts, all of which can impede accurate data extraction. 

Job seekers need to be aware of these potential hurdles, emphasizing the importance of crafting resumes with ATS compatibility in mind. By addressing these challenges head-on, candidates can ensure their qualifications shine through the digital filter, increasing their chances of making it to the next stage in the hiring process.

3- Ranking and Filtering Criteria

When an ATS scans resumes, its primary goal is to identify candidates whose qualifications align closely with the job requirements. Relevancy becomes the guiding light in this evaluation process. The system analyzes each resume, looking for key indicators such as job titles, skills, and experiences that closely match the criteria set by the hiring company. 

Job seekers can significantly enhance their chances by tailoring their resumes to mirror the language and requirements outlined in the job description. This not only ensures alignment but also positions the candidate as an ideal fit in the eyes of the ATS.

a- Keywords are The Building Blocks of ATS Understanding

Keywords are the building blocks that construct a bridge of understanding between a resume and the ATS. These are specific terms, skills, or phrases that the system is programmed to identify as essential for a particular role. Incorporating industry-specific keywords strategically throughout your resume is akin to speaking the language of the ATS.

For example, if you're applying for a project management role emphasizing "Agile methodology" and "project scheduling," these become critical keywords. Integrating them naturally into your resume, such as showcasing experience in "project timelines using Agile methodology," ensures the ATS recognizes your alignment with the specific skills sought by the employer. 

Effectively inserting relevant keywords is not merely a formality; it's the strategic language that propels your resume to the top of the digital stack, increasing the likelihood of catching the attention of prospective employers in a competitive job market.

Please note that keyword placement is not about overloading your resume with buzzwords but rather about presenting your qualifications in a manner that not only resonates with the role but also gets picked up by the ATS. There needs to be a balance.

b- Finding the Balance

Success in the ATS realm lies in striking a delicate balance between relevancy and keyword optimization. A resume that showcases relevant qualifications while seamlessly integrating targeted keywords is more likely to secure a favorable ATS ranking. Job seekers should meticulously analyze job descriptions, identify critical keywords, and thoughtfully incorporate them into their resumes. This strategic approach ensures that the resume not only aligns with the job requirements but also speaks the language that resonates with the digital evaluator.

In essence, comprehending the intricacies of ATS ranking unveils the blueprint for a successful job application. By recognizing the importance of relevancy and keywords, candidates can strategically position themselves in the eyes of the ATS, increasing the likelihood of their resume standing out in a crowded field of applicants.

7- Benchmark of the top 5 ATS

When it comes to Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), the market offers a diverse array of solutions, each with its unique features catering to the needs of modern recruitment. Forbes has identified and ranked 11 notable ATS systems, providing insights into what makes them stand out. Here are five of them:

a- BambooHR

BambooHR distinguishes itself by offering a user-friendly interface coupled with robust functionalities. It's renowned for its intuitive design, making it accessible for both small and large enterprises. BambooHR excels in centralizing HR processes, including applicant tracking, fostering a seamless experience for recruiters and candidates alike.

b- Workable

Workable shines through its versatility, suitable for businesses of varying sizes and industries. This ATS emphasizes collaboration, providing a platform where hiring teams can efficiently communicate and evaluate candidates. Workable's strength lies in its adaptability, making it a go-to choice for companies with diverse hiring needs.

c- Jazz HR

Jazz HR stands out with its comprehensive suite of recruitment tools, covering everything from sourcing to onboarding. This ATS is particularly notable for its scalability, accommodating the evolving needs of growing organizations. Jazz HR's emphasis on automation streamlines workflows, reducing manual efforts in the hiring process.

d- Breezy HR

Breezy HR distinguishes itself with a focus on candidate experience. This ATS prioritizes creating a positive journey for applicants, offering features like self-scheduling interviews and personalized communication. Breezy HR's commitment to candidate engagement sets it apart, fostering a positive impression even in the early stages of recruitment.

e- Greenhouse

Greenhouse is recognized for its data-driven approach to hiring. This ATS provides analytics and insights to optimize recruitment strategies. Greenhouse stands out in its ability to harness data for better decision-making, offering recruiters a deeper understanding of their hiring processes and enabling continuous improvement.


It's evident that an ATS isn't just a formality; it's a dynamic force shaping the recruitment process. By comprehending how these systems function, job seekers can strategically position themselves for success, ensuring that their resumes not only navigate the digital hurdles but stand out in the crowded field of applicants. Moreover, our exploration of popular ATS systems highlights the diversity of tools available in the recruitment space. Each ATS brings its unique strengths, catering to the varied needs of businesses in their quest for top talent. In essence, navigating the ATS landscape calls for a good strategy. Crafting resumes with precision, understanding the significance of keywords, and being aware of the features that distinguish different ATS systems are the keys to understanding how you can optimize your resume. As technology continues to shape the hiring process, the smart integration of these insights becomes the key to success, ensuring that candidates not only meet the criteria of the automated tools, but surpass them with finesse.


Foster Arens

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

Foster is an expert copywriter with a decade focus on HR and recruitment, specializing in resumes and cover letters. His expertise lies in highlighting individual talents and achievements, driven by a passion for leveraging AI in career development. Foster aims to bridge talent and opportunity, helping clients exceed their career goals.

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