Module 03: Job Search

3.7 Online Applicant Tracking Systems

When you approach an employer about job opportunities, they may advise you to complete an application on their website. Many companies use online applicant tracking systems (ATS) to streamline their recruitment process because it is cheaper and easier than handling it manually. However, for the job seeker it can feel like your application has fallen into a black hole: You spend a lot of time trying to get it just right, but rarely hear a response back from the employer.

Here are six tips that will help you make your online applications stand out:

Optimize your Resume for Applicant Tracking Systems


Now let’s target Jane’s resume to a job posting! The yellow highlights below demonstrate how Jane Career’s resume has been targeted to the job ad below it.

Practice optimizing a resume and cover letter for an applicant tracking system using the AI tool provided by

  • Go to
  • Copy and paste a resume and job posting to the Jobscan Tool. You can use your own resume or our sample resume
  • Run a scan: which missing skills aresuggested by the AI tool?
  • Add the missing skills keywords to the resume and rescan to see if you increase the matching rate

Jane Career – Sample Resume

123 College Street, Toronto, ON M1J 2T2
(416) 123-1234

Administrative Assistant


  • 2+ years of experience in office administration (2)
  • Certificate in office administration (1)
  • Excellent administrative skills including typing, data entry and formatting documents
  • Experience preparing and proofreading contracts
  • Strong computer skills (4) including Windows, MS Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook and Adobe
  • Strong communication (3) and customer service skils
  • Proven ability to perform well under tight deadlines (5)


Office Administration – Certificate, 2015
Centennial College, Toronto, ON

  • Relevant courses included: Word processing, Document production, Office procedures, Computer applications, Transcription


Administrative Assistant– Jan 2016 – Present
New Planet Environmental Services, Toronto, ON

  • Organize and maintain customer files
  • Prepare letters and other customer correspondence
  • Draft documents including customer contracts
  • Responsible for document control of several customer forms
  • Arrange trade shows, meetings and conferences
  • Research and report market industry news and technology

Receptionist – Jan 2014-Dec 2015
New You Fashion, Toronto, ON

  • Professionally answered telephone enquiries
  • Identified client needs and resolved issues
  • Accurately maintained client information database
  • Prepared professional documents and correspondence in MS Word and Excel
  • Scheduled appointments and meetings and prepared appropriate materials
  • Interacted with all levels of staff and management


Volunteer – Feb-May 2015
Career Services & Co-operative Education, Centennial College, Toronto, ON

  • Assisted during Career Week 2015
  • Promoted Career Week events to students, helped with registration, and greeted employers

GCELES (Global Citizenship & Equity Learning Experience)– Jan 2015
Centennial College, Toronto, ON

  • Social Enterprise Project in the Dominican Republic
  • 12-day service learning project that prepared students to be leaders of positive social change in our interconnected world

Leadership Passport – June 2014
Centennial College, Toronto, ON

  • Co-curricular program that focuses on student leadership development through theoretical and practical learning that encompasses volunteerism, international educational experience, and service learning

Administrative Assistant Job Posting

Administrative Assistant

Industry: Municipal Government


  • Typing, data entry, formatting, photocopying, faxing and e-mailing documents
  • Assistance with the preparation of contracts
  • Project related filing
  • Assistance with weekly reports
  • Assisting other members of the administrative department when required


  • Related post-secondary training (1)
  • 1+ years of office experience (2)
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills (3) coupled with strong interpersonal skills
  • Computer proficiency in Microsoft Office, Windows (4) and Outlook. Adobe would be considered an asset.
  • Ability to multi-task and efficiently respond to changing priorities
  • Decision making and problem solving ability with strong attention to detail
  • Excellent organizational and time-management skills and proven ability to meet deadlines (5)

Location: Toronto
Shift: Monday to Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm
Salary: TBD
To Apply: Email your resume and cover letter to Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

Now that you have analyzed a job ad and customized a resume to respond to it, you can prepare your own resume. Locate a job ad you might be interested in applying to and tailor your resume with the job ad in mind.


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