Hiring and applicant tracking systems (ATS)

The job application process has changed dramatically in the past decade and is now heavily automated using applicant tracking systems (ATS), a form of artificial intelligence (AI). Adult learners need to produce resumes and cover letters to get past ATS using key words and simple formats. 

ATS algorithms can introduce new biases and entrench existing ones as they scan for gaps in one's work history, postsecondary education completion (even if the job doesn't require it) or too many or too few jobs listed. Who will get screened out? The very people who attend our programs: adults with disabilities, women who have taken maternity or caregiving leaves, people without access to job training for in-demand jobs, those who haven't completed a post-secondary education and those who have periods of interrupted education and employment

Resources in this section can be used by both learners and educators to learn more about the unwritten rules of hiring. Applicants need to develop resumes and cover letters for the ATS, not just to showcase who they are, what they know and what they can do. 

We couldn't find open source materials that are ready to use for instruction. But one site, Jobscan, with both free and paid access, is a good place to start.

Jobscan, a freemium site focused on ATS

Jobscan is a freemium site with information and tools dedicated to helping people learn about and get past ATS. The amazing feature of Jobscan is that it uses AI to help you beat other AI systems! The site's paid feature is a resume scanning tool that harnesses AI to analyse and fix resumes for specific jobs. "An ATS-optimized resume is the first step to getting past the bots and face to face with an actual person. Jobscan tests and researches common ATS to help job seekers avoid the traps of these systems, from the outdated to the cutting edge." 

There are also several free tools including 

All tools are designed with ATS in mind.

Copyrighted site with access to some tools and a wealth of information for free.

How to beat applicant tracking systems

The text below highlights the information in the video and links to resources and information on the Jobscan site.

There is no universal trick to “beating” applicant tracking systems. Getting past an ATS and landing a job interview requires a well-written resume that is mindful of ATS algorithms as well as the people pushing the buttons.

Here’s our simplest advice for how to beat ATS:

Video series from Indeed 

The job site, Indeed has some great playlists, which can be found on YouTube. The following topics might be of interest:

Copyrighted. All videos can be shared and embedded.

Job bank career planning tools

The Government of Canada has produced some useful online quizzes and self-assessments that can be used when discussing different jobs and job fits with learners.

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Do you know of other OER that we can add to this page? Get in touch: info@alphaplus.ca