How to Gamify Your Job Search and Make an ATS Optimized Resume

Aditi Sinha - Feb 2024

If you are applying to jobs in 2024, you know first hand just how critical it is to understand the inner workings of the ATS (Applicant Tracking System). The current application process is broken and causes a great deal of misery for you, the job seeker. Today, we are going to reframe the job application process for you to help establish more confidence and clarity on what actions are the highest leverage to land more interviews through proper ATS (Applicant Tracking System) understanding and online resume optimization.

Before we get into the practical tips, we need a little history as to how we got here. Many moons ago, the job seeker could simply walk to a local employer and ask for a job. With the emergence of the internet, companies are receiving a large influx of potential applicants from all across the globe. Large tech companies like Indeed and LinkedIn have made their platforms easier for applicants to apply with auto apply features, which has had the negative consequence of more applicants applying for the same role. Companies have been forced to innovate and now have advanced screening tools to filter down the pool of applicants, looking for the most qualified individuals. This is the current status of the game. There is nothing you can do about it, except learn how to best play it with ATS in mind.

The game of getting an interview is just like any other game you may play in your life. It follows the rules of a system. All systems are the same, as they can be broken down into 5 unique categories. Today, we will go deep into each category of the job application system, helping you identify what it is you should focus on to drive the most results, including interview preparation and online resume optimization.

All systems can be broken down into an input, process, output, feedback, and environment. The job application system goes as follows. An applicant submits a resume (input) into a job board (environment), which is then redirected to a company. The company uses an ATS to evaluate the quality of the applicant (process) and presents the hiring manager data on if they should interview the applicant or send them an auto deny email (output). The job seeker then receives notice of the decision of the hiring manager (feedback) and then returns to their favorite job application platform (environment) to send out more resumes (input).

Take a moment to carefully consider this system. Ask yourself the question, what about this is within my control? What can you control about the input, process, output, feedback, and environment? Of all 5 of these variables, there are only 2 that you can influence and only 1 that you have complete control over. You can influence the environment by deciding what platform you choose to apply to what job on, but you must know that regardless of the environment, your resume will end up in the same ATS process. Because of this fact, you should devote all of your energy to the input, your resume, and ensuring online resume optimization.

Spending time complaining about the process, the way the hiring manager reads the data, and how many auto deny emails you receive is not productive. The system is large and out of your control. You know you are playing a game. If you have been playing the game for a while now and not liking your results, you need to shift your mindset to focus solely on how you can provide the best input in order to drive the feedback you desire, including thorough interview preparation.

The variable of the input can be broken down a bit further. Let us examine the system on a unit basis, then consider it at scale. At the unit level of one single application, the only thing you have control over is how high of quality the resume you submit is. The resume's quality is going to be judged by the Applicant Tracking System based on how well it fits the requirements of the job description. In order to build a quality resume, you need awareness over the environment of the job, as well as what the Applicant Tracking System is looking for. If you have been following our content for a while now, you should be quite familiar with the fact that the Applicant Tracking System is looking for specific keywords from the job description to confirm you are a good match for the position. Therefore, if you are looking to build a quality resume, you need quality keywords.

The best way to add quality keywords to a resume is by examining the job description and rewriting job experience bullet points on your resume to reflect the phrasing of the responsibilities and requirements section. The issue is, this process is extremely time-consuming and difficult. You need to develop the skill of resume writing and then dedicate the time to execute on it. This investment takes away from how many applications you can submit, but should help you convert into an interview more often through Applicant Tracking System recognition and online resume optimization.

At, we help you get the best of both worlds. Instead of dedicating all the time to optimize the resume yourself, we offer ResumeAI, a powerful tool that makes changes automatically to your resume, helping you appear more qualified through online resume optimization.

Once you use ResumeAI for your application, the quality of your input will increase dramatically. With a higher quality input, you are bound to receive better outputs. The other variable you can manipulate is how many inputs you submit into the system. By setting and sticking to an application target, you are doing everything in your power to drive results through Applicant Tracking System understanding and online resume optimization.

As applying to jobs is a painful process for most, we see job seekers avoid the process altogether and hit a low number of weekly applications. Reframe your job search and make it into a fun game where you track your inputs and success of your outputs, based on the feedback you receive. This gamification will help motivate you to keep applying and tweaking your system to drive more results.

When you use ResumeAI, it prompts you to set an application goal. Every time you build a new resume with ResumeAI, you just completed one more application and are a step closer to achieving your weekly goal. Watch your progress bar fill up and feel a sense of accomplishment that you are controlling the quality and volume of your inputs through Applicant Tracking System awareness and online resume optimization.

Try ResumeAI for free today to retake control of your job search and land more interviews through proper Applicant Tracking System understanding, interview preparation, and online resume optimization.

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