ATS, or applicant tracking systems, help recruiters quickly know if you're a fit for the role.

An ATS gives recruiters an easy way to find a fit, but you need to know how to stand out.

Applicant Tracking Systems, often called an ATS, is the type of database that employers and staffing firms store your resume in. The reason that’s important to you is it changes everything about how you need to prepare your resume when you have a specific job in mind. 

The best way to understand how an ATS works is to think of how you search for things online. To do that, you enter keywords into Google or another search engine. The search engine then scans all of the information in its database and returns the best results based upon many different factors. 

An ATS works in much the same way. Let’s say a recruiter is looking for a machine operator with experience in the automotive industry. The employer has asked for someone with three years of experience. Just like you did in Google, the recruiter will type in the keywords of “machine operator” and “automotive,” and specify the number of years of experience. 

Databases contain thousands of resumes and can’t think on its own. It can only return what it finds on the resumes. What that means to you is if your resume doesn’t include those words, it won’t be found. 

So, what does that mean for how you prepare your resume? Here are a few tips: 

Include Keywords in Your Resume

If you don’t have a resume, see our blog on how to prepare a resume in Google Docs. It’s a free online tool with built in resume templates to get you started. 

Be sure to print out the job posting or have it up on a separate thread. Look at the specific words that the job posting includes and imagine what a recruiter would type into their ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to find qualified applicants. It’s generally fairly obvious. Look at the job title and the requirements. In your resume, try to describe your experience in a way that makes use of those exact words and phrases. It’s important that you don’t overly embellish or lie on your resume. Tell the truth, but line it up with the job posting and keywords. 

Be Descriptive for the ATS

It’s tempting to get creating your resume over with as soon as possible. Let’s be honest, creating them isn’t always the most fun thing in the world, but it’s important to get it right. 

Let’s return to our example of a machine operator for an automotive facility. The more words you use to describe your relevant experience, the more likely it is that you will get found. Instead of just saying “machine operator,” you could say, “machine operator for the Acme 5820 that produced lug nuts for the automotive industry.” This way, you have more of a chance of popping to the top of the list in the ATS! 

Stay in Touch with a Recruiter

The good news for you is that Integrity reviews each new application that is sent to us. That means that if you don’t get those keywords just right, you don’t need to worry. Resumes are, however, put into a database for future use, so the advice above is a good habit to get into. 

If you’re looking for a new position as a part of your goals for the year, get in touch with us. We make applying easy. Here are a few easy ways to find your new role: 

  1. Call any of office numbers to start a conversation with a recruiter
  2. Go to and contact us with questions from which can be found on our home page. 
  3. Go to and apply for a specific position
  4. Answer one of our ads on the popular job boards. We’re even on Facebook: 

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