Job-seeking can often be a difficult and sometimes tiring part of your career. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are often used as a filter to remove any unsuitable CV’s before they reach the employer. This means that you may be perfectly suited for a role, but a human may never set eyes on your CV. ATS have specific filters set in place that can trigger them to think your CV may be unsuitable. ATS applications sift through thousands of applications and can have both positive and negative outcomes for the recruiters. Employers no longer have to read through resumes that are not suitable, but they can potentially miss out on a hidden gem of a candidate. Not to worry though, there are potential ways around this issue and you can beat the bots.
Use those Keywords
Keywords are a very common way to filter out unwanted CV’s when there is an Applicant Tracking System in place. It’s very similar to the type of algorithms google uses, if you search for something specific, google won’t want to show you something irrelevant. When reading through the job description and employers’ websites, make sure you are keeping note of any keywords they might be looking for. For example; if they have highlighted key skills they want from an applicant, make sure they are present on your CV. (If you have those skills of course) Or if they are looking for someone will a specific amount of experience, make sure you write how many years of experience you have. It’s small things that can make a huge difference to your application being successful. You may not be able to get this perfect first time, but a bit of extra research never hurt anyone! By trying to alter the keywords for each application, you are giving yourself a higher chance of getting your CV noticed. Using good keywords can help get you through those filters and land your CV in the employers’ hands.
The layout of your CV can be very important for making it through those annoying filters. It is important to remember that once your CV makes it through the online systems, it will be read by a person, so it must be easy for them read as well. It can be best to stick to a simple and clear layout, one that is easy for the reader to look at and not too cluttered. Make sure you are sticking to simple fonts, nothing too over the top. These can often look unprofessional. It’s a good idea to steer away from un-needed images and graphs on your CV, these may not pass through the filters and can make your CV look over-crowded. The type of file you upload to the system can have a huge effect on whether your CV makes it through. Make sure you are aware of the type of document the employer has requested, if they ask for a word document, make sure you upload exactly that. Otherwise, your CV may not make it through, or it can be incompatible, and the recruiter may not be able to load and read it. Help yourself and read everything they ask of you.
Social media can play a huge part in you finding your next job. Employers like to see how you interact with other online professionals and this can maybe allow them to get an insight into the kind of person you are. It is very important to update your social media links on your CV, make the links short and easy to read and double check the links. Something so obvious can often get overlooked. You need to be sharing professional information with your potential employers, they need to be appropriate. It may be best not to share your personal social media pages with them, if you are prone to tweeting personal life details or consistently using bad language. It has to be appropriate otherwise it can have consequences. If you own any social media that you do not want employers to see, make sure you adjust their privacy settings. Just because the information is not on you CV doesn’t mean they cannot find you. Most employers use the web to find out more about their potential candidates, don’t let your social pages limit your opportunities. Make sure you treat your pages professionally and less like a teenager ranting online. Flagged links on your CV can again lead to getting filtered out and no one reading it!
When designing your CV there are a lot of details to think about. One big question you may ask yourself is, Do I make this specific to my industry? If you are an engineer applying for a role, you don’t want to have a CV designed for a graphic designer. If it is important to you, you can add a little bit of your personality into your CV, make sure you are happy and proud to send it to employers. Refer to CV format section. Make sure there are not many images and the fonts are appropriate. However, I don’t think there is any one element that makes your CV perfect for your industry, so stop worrying! Make sure you are proud and include your achievements and experience and you can have a winning CV!
Applicant Tracking Systems can be a real challenge to a job-seeker. But understanding their importance to some employers allows you to think of ways to concur these filters. The time taken to look into the job spec and read about what the employer wants from your CV format, will only make your resume better. Every grey cloud has a silver lining, even if you couldn’t initially find the light.