Career Adventure Guide

ATS is a Three-letter Word

ATS is a Three-Letter Word

Part of the challenge of doing all of this career search and mapping is that the darned Resume is still there. And the core myth in the job search process in the marketplace and at most companies is that the Resume is the Key. Companies often get hundreds of resumes for a position, and “have to post” by company policy. We hear over and over of companies that don’t even look at the digital resumes, or they use various tools to look through the resumes for them, at least for the first pass to get to a small number to review. They use resume sorting systems in our modern AI era.


How do they work? How can you have better odds with this Game?

…Welcome to the world of ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems).

Whether you are applying for a job on a company website or in (or others), you or the HR exec may stick your resume into an ATS — and there are ways that you can thrive better, esp. after you’ve already looked at your transferable hard and soft skills.

Read this page on Applicant Tracking Systems:

Creepy, huh?


Optional: Would you like to update your resume with the new Transferable Skills that you worked on before? You don’t have to for this exercise, but you’ll get more of a benefit if you do so.

On the same page above, you can create a free trial account for 5 uses of the tool. Take your resume and one of the job descriptions from the prior exercise, and put them both into the tool.

What comes out? What are the elements that match? What are word choices that didn’t match?


Most experts now suggest that you customize your resume for each job. If many companies use ATS’s, it makes sense that you may need to adjust the keywords to match the job just to show up!

We recommend that people start a Master Resume, which has everything that they have done that expresses and evidences their transferable skills. Then, when you apply for a job, you can pull things out of the master resume to specifically match the items in the job description. You can keep building the Master Resume as your skills expand, keeping a single document updated.