Using Jobscan for Applicant Tracking Systems

Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Many mid- or large-sized organizations use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to manage their recruitment and hiring processes, with some reports citing that 99% of Fortune 500 companies rely on an ATS such as Workday, Greenhouse, Lever, or others.

Especially in the technology industry, when you apply for a job online, your resume is stored and organized in the ATS, and whether a human recruiter ever sees your resume can depend on how well your resume is optimized for the ATS algorithm.

What Does This Mean For Job Seekers?

ATS have search, filters, and ranking options that recruiters can use to sort through job candidates. That said, these algorithms are unreliable and many recruiters still manually review as many resumes as they can; this means that at best a recruiter might glance at your resume and skim education, past highlights, job titles, and companies on your resume.

What does this mean for you? If you are applying online, you should ensure your resume is optimized for the ATS— ensure that your resume has a format which is readable by the ATS and has the appropriate keywords. At the same time, do not try to “cheat” the system by doing things such as overusing keywords, rendering them meaningless.

Things to remember when applying online with an ATS

  1. Read through the job description carefully and ensure you are using the same keywords and tailoring your experience so that it speaks to the job description requirements.   

  2. Use both the long-form and acronym version of keywords (e.g., product manager and PM) for maximum searchability   

  3. Do not use tables or columns, as these can cause parsing errors   

  4. Do not use headers or footers, as this information may be lost in parsing   

  5. Use standard resume section headings (e.g., Professional Experience)

Need Help?

Submit your resume and/or cover letter for a review with Career Services.

Request a premium account in Jobscan.

Jobscan is a resume software tool that analyzes your resume for how it would perform in an ATS. Jobscan’s optimization technology is based on the same search and ranking algorithms used by top ATS, and will provide you with suggestions for formatting and key qualification and skill matching. The premium Jobscan account will allow you to perform unlimited scans of your resume to see how it performs in various Applicant Tracking Systems.

In order to use Jobscan, you will upload your resume and copy-and-paste a job description you are interested in applying for; Jobscan will then predict what ATS is being used by that employer and provide you with specific advice for improving your resume.

Remember that Jobscan is one source of feedback and is not perfect; writing a resume is an art and a science. If you have questions about your resume, please reach out to career services!

Protect Your Privacy When Using Jobscan

To safeguard your privacy, we recommend that you avoid submitting personally identifiable information in the resumes you check with Jobscan or any other similar online tool (e.g., Teal):

  • Create a resume specifically for submitting to Jobscan.
  • Don’t include your actual name, address, telephone number, or email address in your mock resume. (Public LinkedIn or website URLs are fine.)
  • But don’t just leave blank space where your contact information would be; Jobscan will sensibly mark the resume down for not including your name or contact information. Instead...
  • Do include a fake name, address, telephone number, and email address in your Jobscan resume.

Last updated:

January 3, 2024