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  • Application Tracking Systems – ATS & Contextual Resume Search

    What do Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, NBC and Wachovia have in common? They use a sophisticated digital system to store, manage, and process resume from job applicants. These Application Tracking Systems (ATS) are the first hurdles to pass before your resume becomes visible to a human – a recruiter or a hiring manager. Not only these large companies but even much smaller companies are using Application Tracking System to manage their recruiting process.

    The foundation of search in these ATS systems is the appropriate keyword. But more advanced systems use smart technology and intelligence to assess professional, educational and personal experience. In what is known as contextual search, the keyword list is augmented by artificial intelligence to better understand the person’s profile.

    How is ATS contextual system more advanced than a keyword search system –
    ATS algorithm will help search for candidates :
    1. Who have used a specific skill in their last 3 jobs.
    2. Who have worked for a particular company/s in the last 4 years.
    3. Who live with-in a certain mile radius.
    It also provides importance to skills that are not just defined by the keywords. For example Mandarin learned in a job environment is much more valuable than Mandarin learned in a course. Therefore the system matches keywords to specific context to determine the value of the skill-set of the candidate and rank it.

    Practical Application:
    If you have done 2 years of Japanese course and only 15 days of work related to Japanese language, it might be a good idea to mention even the 14 day experience. The contextual search mechanism will possibly rank this higher and therefore your resume may come up in the search.

    These ATS systems are becoming more and more “human like”. As a person searching for jobs, the understanding of these mechanisms and tailoring the resume to adapt will greatly improve your job search process.
    These systems can sort through million of resume records and pull up only those resume matches that are relevant to the job in question.

    ATS eliminates the need for filling out forms and fields while increasing the accuracy of information. It can read resumes in over 60 formats, including text, RTF, word doc and PDF. The parsing engine reads resumes contextually and extracts key facts that are categorized. These categorized information can be searched conveniently by recruiters and hiring managers. Each resume could generate hundreds of information tags. This includes, contact information, work experience and skill-sets (hard and soft).

    ATS matches free text resumes with job descriptions. The matching is done on resume keywords and also inferential facts – distances, durations of jobs and occupational level. It can therefore decipher to a high level of accuracy:
    1. Where has this candidate been.
    2. Where is he/she going (career path)
    3. Does his/her path match that of the job and the hiring company in question.

    How resumes are processed in Application Tracking Systems is more complex than just the use of semantic concept of keywords. The information is interpreted in a contextual manner much as a human would do. Your understanding of resume keywords and contextual search will help better position your resume. Learn, change and benefit.


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