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QUESTION: Do I need to worry about applicant tracking software if I am just networking for my job search?

Cherie Heid, Competitive Edge Resume Service

Yes – you should still make sure your resume is designed to be compatible with applicant tracking software even if you are “just networking” because eventually you may be asked to upload your resume to the company’s ATS and the HR Manager may run a keyword scan on your resume to ensure you are truly qualified even though you may have been referred by an employee.

Robert Rosales, EZ Resume Services

Networking is the most effective path to get in the door and past the initial applicant tracking system (ATS) test. However, companies that adhere to fair and equitable hiring practices will use ATS software to scan your resume and ensure compliance. This is when a non ATS-friendly resume could be a problem. Your best bet is to network using an ATS-friendly resume.

Edward Lawrence, Getstarted LLC

Yes, you should account for Applicant Tracking Software (ATS). ATS reads keywords—the words that indicate your skills and qualifications. Even if you bypass the ATS via networking, a human reader will still scan your résumé for keywords. In addition, while your networking contact may give you an edge, the company may still require that the résumé go through the ATS for scoring.

Mary Jo King, Alliance Résumé & Writing Service

Your resume should always be optimized for applicant tracking software (ATS) systems. Networking may provide a warm handoff that helps you edge out the competition, but that is no guarantee your document will not be parsed into an ATS before you are offered the position. Hiring decisions must often be justified in this way.

Denise Bitler, Resume-Interview Success, LLC

You should always take an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) into consideration when you are creating a resume. Even if you are networking and sharing your resume in-person or via an email, the recipient of the email may upload it into their ATS. There are numerous ways to make a resume standout, while still making it ATS compliant.

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