Career: Ways To Get Your CV Past The Applicant Tracking System

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The frustration of applying for jobs only to get no response is just but a lifestyle to many. Nonetheless, it doesn’t reduce the amount of discouragement, stress and mental fatigue whenever you think of making another attempt. These 6 ways will help you improve your job searching process. 

Applicant Tracking systems, ATS, are tools used by companies to process job applications and highlight qualified candidates. In essence, these systems increase efficiency for recruiters by narrowing down the candidate pool, storing resumes/CVs in one place and keeping them organised for future reference.

Hence the popular “database” reply…

Thus, you wonder aside from strengthening your network, understanding the job description, highlighting accomplishments and having the relevant skills for the job you’re applying for, what else could make your job application effective and less frustrating? The answer lies in being smart than computer software. 

In this article, we shall discuss the relevance of understanding how an Applicant Tracking Systems works and strategies you can implement to ensure your CV doesn’t slip through the cracks. 

How does an application system work?

The truth is most firms, especially recruiting companies use Applicant Tracking Systems. As long as you are applying for a job online your CV is likely to encounter an Applicant Tracking System before it gets you an interview with a recruiter. Even Linkedin has its own built-in ATS.

How does it work? As mentioned earlier ATS are useful for organising and storing resumes in one database. But depending on the system used an Applicant Tracking System allows recruiters to search, sort, view and rank resumes as per the job description.  This can be done even after a position has been filled and that’s why sometimes you may be invited for an interview even after ample time has passed.

Since different ATSs have different strengths and weaknesses let’s look at how you can optimise your resume/CV for Applicant Tracking System algorithms.

Job Applications: 4 Tips To Make Your Curriculum Vitae (CV) Stand Out From The Rest

Ways to beat the Applicant Tracking System Algorithm

Taleo, CATS, Jobvite, BambooHR are just but a few of the top ATS used by hiring companies. Nonetheless, the following strategies as recommended by job search experts will ensure that your resume stays ATS friendly and optimised for positive results.

  1. Tailor your CV to the job description

So you’ve heard time and again but the key here is to do it for every job application you make to show that you are a great match for the specific job description at hand. 

In other words, while a generic CV leaves it up to the recruiter to figure out if the candidate is suitable, a tailored CV shows skills in context while mirroring the language used in the job description. It highlights where you acquired the needed skills as per the job description and how you’ve developed the required qualifications.

In view of this, use percentages, revenue amounts, or any other quantifiable measures to illustrate results and accomplishments. 

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Tailored resumes do not only make work easier for a recruiter, but they rank easily in the ATS search results whenever recruiters such for specific keywords, skills and experience.

Check out more ways to make your CV stand out

2. Pay attention to your CV/resume formatting

From the fonts and font size used to the overall typeface, mind the following as you optimise your CV for ATS Algorithm.

  • For readability, use, a font size range of 10-12 points. Your name can have a bigger font of 16-18 depending on the space you have.
  • Traditional fonts are ATS friendly. Such include Times New Roman, Arial, Georgia, Cambria, Calibri, Tahoma, Palantino
  • Bold standard resume headings such as education, work experience, activities and so on, so they can stand out. The font size should be the same ranging from 10-12.
  • Instead of lengthy paragraphs, use bullet points when listing your experiences and achievements. This makes your CV skimmable and readable. 
  • Use italics sparingly. After all, if everything is emphasized nothing is emphasized, 
  • Whenever you need to use acronyms indicate both the short and long form of the word. E.g. BA then (Bachelor of Arts) for maximum visibility. 
  • Unless you are handing your job application to someone in person, always submit online resumes in Docx. Never PDF.
  • Avoid using headers and footers as they lead to parsing errors.
  • For the same reason, don’t use tables, columns and graphics.
  • Avoid underlining.
  • Use colours only if you will be taking your CV to an interview. Otherwise, it’s not necessary.

3. Keyword optimisation 

Match your skills to the ones indicated in the particular job description and ensure they are easily identifiable. The good thing is you don’t have to do this manually. Tools like Power Edit are efficient in highlighting missing skills in relation to the job description, so you can format accordingly and increase your score. 

While doing so, avoid the temptation of adding distracting information or fluff which can affect your ranking in ATS negatively.

Now that your CV or Resume is ATS friendly and its ready to be passed to a real person, this article will prepare you for the next step: Tips for attending a job interview

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I am a writer with interest in hair, beauty and fashion. I also like telling stories, but most of all I enjoy listening and reading them. If I'm not doing any of the above, I will be trying to crack a game of chess or monopoly. My biggest fear is being ordinary.