Did you know that 75% of all job applications are rejected before an actual human being has had a chance to look at them? You need to write a resume to beat the bots.
This is thanks to applicant tracking systems, or ATS, that many companies and recruiters nowadays use to weed out unsuitable candidates. It’s a system that saves time and money, but unfortunately, it means that even if you are a great fit for a particular job, you may be filtered out of the running simply because your CV is poorly written and formatted.
What exactly is an ATS?
An ATS is an algorithm (basically, a bot) that scans resumes and looks for certain keywords and phrases that are relevant to the position in question. It’s a tool that was developed for large corporations that receive thousands of job applications, but now even small companies are using this system to assist with recruitment.
How to write a resume to beat the bots
With ATS in mind, it’s clear that when writing a CV, you need to tailor it to ensure that it won’t get rejected by the ATS algorithm. Here are our best CV tips to beat the bots!
- Use keywords and avoid buzzwords
Unlike buzzwords, keywords relate to specific hard and soft skills that make you suitable for a job. Read through a number of different adverts for positions you are interested in, and you will soon have an idea of the skills you should be including as keywords.
- Keep formatting as simple as possible
Designing your CV to look fancy on screen is pointless when bots tend to reject any resume that contains complex formatting. Honestly, a simple MS Word doc will do. Keep formatting to a minimum (eg bold headings, basic bullet points). Avoid any images and graphics as these are difficult for a bot to read.
- Supply your resume in MS Word
ATS programmes typically struggle to read pdf format, so don’t save as a pdf! Just send your CV as a MS Word doc and keep it simple.
- Don’t put important info in the header and footer
Even if you supply your CV as a MS Word doc, it’s important not to include any important info in the header and footer. These areas are not always properly read by ATS. For example, if you include contact info in the header or footer, and a bot fails to read it, your CV may be rejected for not including contact information (even if it is actually there).
We’ve said it above and we’ll say it again. Keep. It. Simple.
Unless you’re applying for a job that specifically requires a designed CV (graphic design, for example) there is no need to make your CV complicated. All you need to include is your education, skills and experience!