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Jobseekers warned about technology that will make or break your application

There is a set of simple formatting tips to ensure your resume doesn't get skipped.

Aussies all across the country are battling a tough job market at the moment. Many have complained about sending out up to 100 applications and getting rejected from every single one of them.

While some jobseekers will send out the same resume for any role, they’re being warned there is technology being used by employers and recruiters that could see those types of applications sent straight to the bin.

Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is software that will scan and analyse your resume or application before it's sent to a manager or HR representative at the company you’re applying to.

Youth Force Australia spokesperson talking about job applications next to picture of a resume
Employers and recruiters are using software to filter out applicants who aren't fit for the job. (Source: TikTok/Getty)

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The system will look for keywords from the job listing on your resume and those that hit certain criteria will be sent onto the next round. It’s meant to weed out the applicants who don’t have the right skills or experience and do it in a fraction of the time that a human would be able to do.

Young adult job site Youth Force Australia said you’d fall at the first hurdle if you didn’t cater to this technology.

“If you don't know what ATS tracking is in 2024, you best believe you will never be getting a job interview,” Youth Force’s Lulu said in a video.

How to get the best resume

Recruiter Tammie Ballis has seen too many applicants miss out on jobs because their resumes weren’t designed to get through the system. She said the job market was so fierce at the moment due to overseas migration and domestic population growth and some roles were getting hundreds of applications each.

Ballis said there were some simple ways for you to ensure you got in front of employers’ eyes when submitting your application.

“In Australia at the moment, we are having massive population growth and that population growth is making applying for jobs harder,” she said in a video.

“What I'm hearing, especially for your corporate-type jobs, is up to 500 people applying to these jobs … and it's making it harder for you because your application isn't being seen.

“What you need to do is … have a simple, straightforward ATS resume, but don't wait to apply, apply straight away. Get in front of them and give them a call after your application. Let them speak to you. Let them do a phone interview.”


Ballis said it was essential for your resume to be in a Word document or PDF format so the ATS could properly read the information. Jobseekers have also been warned to use the exact same keywords (like years of experience, specific degrees or qualifications, acronyms, etc) from the job description in your resume as the ATS will be able to recognise that easier.

The system also can’t recognise photos, graphs or other visual information, so make sure you focus on text that is easy to read and pick up. Having subheadings will also ensure the ATS can work out where you have previously worked and what level of education you have.

There are plenty of websites that allow you to build an ATS-friendly resume and hopefully your application will have a better chance of being pushed through to the next round.

You can also use AI in your job hunt

Indeed career coach Sally McKibbin said you could also use artificial intelligence to help craft your resume for each job.

“AI is the way of the future,” McKibbin told Yahoo Finance. “The fact that jobseekers are actually trying to use these AI tools shows they are aligning themselves with technologies of the future. So, I think it shows quite a lot of initiative if it’s used correctly.”

McKibbin believes AI could be a great starting point for job hunters, but she’s encouraging people to make sure their application actually reflects their personality.

“I think my biggest takeaway is to create a level of authenticity in what you're presenting to that business and the job you are applying for,” McKibbin said.

“Make sure that what you are representing sounds like you and how you would present yourself … really make sure that you are tailoring it to how you would want to be perceived.”

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