Beat the Bots: How to Create an ATS-Friendly CV

These days, applying for a job is a piece of cake. Great for job seekers, but the easy process leaves recruiters bogged down with tons of applications.

Enter: the bots.

Digital software, otherwise known as ATS, is used to filter candidate CVs. These ATS bots (Applicant Tracking System robots) reject up to 75% of CVs before they even make it to a human.

Their job is to filter down the thousands of applications to a shortlisted few, ranking each CV based on desired keywords and the frequency in which they appear.

So you’ll need to optimise your CV to meet the requirements of robotic programming. Here are our tips to beat the bots:

Decode that robot lingo

So what are these robotic recruiters looking for?

Well, it’s more simple than it seems. Recruiters use keywords and phrases to identify the skill sets they’re looking for.

The bots scan for these and use a points system to score them. The higher your score, the higher your chance of scoring an interview.

Writing a relevant and attention-grabbing personal statement can appease those search bots. With a few explicit and well-placed adjectives and sentences about your knowledge and experience, you’ll get yourself off to a flying start.

Streamlined and logical

Ensure that you only focus on your skills at this stage of the application process. You can talk about your career goals and give more detail when you get to the interview stage. For now, narrow it down to the matching skillset from the most relevant job roles on your CV.

State each skill clearly, but don’t go into too much detail.Use bullet points to highlight your skills, experience and achievements. This will be a quick scan for the bots, and, if your new manager is a scan-reader, they’ll appreciate the simplicity too.

Be precise

What software was needed for your previous position? List it using both the title and acronym to make sure it’s recognised for the best scores.

To find the right keywords and phrases for your CV, do a quick keyword search of the job description. Recycle the phrases and skills and use them on your own CV.

The more keywords from the job description, the more likely your CV will make it to the recruitment manager.

It’s extremely important that you spell check your CV before uploading it. Ever heard the phrase dropped like a stone? Well, that’s what will happen if the bots find a single spelling mistake on that document.

Use a clean and professional style.

In some situations, a quirky CV can make you stand out from the crowd. But in most cases, trying to add something different can backfire badly.

ATS bots will simply ignore CVs that include the following:

Images – there was a time when it was all the rage to have an image of yourself at the top of your CV. Bots can read text really easily, but images contain no meaning to them and they will simply ignore CVs with pictures, graphics or symbols.

Headers & footers – Bots can read this information, but in most cases, these are used for numbering and labeling pages. So it’s best to keep anything important in the main body.

Unclear fonts – Lucida Handwriting is pretty and everything, but it’s not the right font to choose for your CV. Bots prefer clear fonts like Times New Roman and Arial. If it’s too complicated, they’ll chuck it in the recycling bin.

So there are our tips for getting past the bots and onto the interview stage: hopefully they’ll help you bag the job of your dreams.

Speaking of dream jobs, have you ever thought about working in recruitment? We’re always on the look-out for talented individuals to work for us. Why not ping over your CV and see what we can do for you?