Tips for Jobseekers

Tips for Jobseekers

Is your CV ATS-Friendly?  

As companies look for ways to simplify and digitise the hiring process, many are turning to technology for help. An Applicant Tracking System (ATS), can help recruitment agencies and hiring teams sort through applications for each role.

Unfortunately, 70% of job applications fail to pass the ATS test.  

Here are some of the best strategies to make your CV ATS-friendly. 

Choose the Right CV Format 

Formatting is one of the most important factors. Your information needs to be well-organised and easy for the technology to scan through.  

Reverse chronological is the most commonly recommended formatting option for most CVs. This is the go-to for most recruiters, as it places the most important information (your work experience) at the top of the page.  

Find the Right File Type 

The file type is the document you use to submit your CV in. When applying for a role, you might see requests for specific file types on the job description. Usually, the versatile option is the PDF as it can be read by most ATS software. 

PDF files are excellent for maintaining the formatting and design of your CV/resume. However, some older applicant tracking models cannot read PDFs. In this case, your would-be employer might ask you to submit a .doc file.  

Make sure you read the instructions carefully to ensure you’re using the right file type. 

Use a Simple Layout 

Simplicity is often important for any CV, particularly in an environment where business hiring managers and recruiters spend hours going through hundreds or even thousands of applications.  

A simple CV layout will be easy to read with bulleted lists highlighting your achievements.  

Avoid using complex graphics or extra formatting to make your CV look more impressive. Fancy templates can be scrambled by the ATS technology, which may make your CV harder to read and even get your application thrown out by the system. 

There are special ATS templates available online if you’re stuck.  

Use Keywords 

Excellent CVs and cover letters for any role should be tailored to suit the position’s specific requirements. Ensure you look for important keywords listed in the job description that the ATS might be looking for in your application.  

For instance, skills related to a specific role are often one of the first things the ATS will look for. If you need a certain certification or degree to be suitable for a certain role, include those words on your CV.  

It’s also worth using plenty of action words in your resume because this helps to highlight things you’ve accomplished. Try terms like “created” or “solved”.  

Don’t just throw keywords in at random, though; remember to ensure the terms you use make sense in the context of the application. Remember: a human will still read your CV after the ATS.

Don’t Apply for Too Many Roles At Once 

ATS tools are designed to find the best possible person for each role. If you don’t have any of the skills the company is asking for on a job description, you’re not going to pass the ATS test.  

Similarly, applying for multiple jobs with the same company could lead to the technology labelling your application as spam.  

Don’t Game the System 

As ATS software becomes increasingly popular worldwide, there has been an increase in people attempting to “game the system” or find ways to outsmart the technology.  

Although you might be able to find a handful of articles and guides telling you how to improve your chances of getting through any screening process, tricking the system won’t work long-term.  

Even if you did manage to convince the ATS to send your application to the next level by copy-pasting keywords from the job description into your CV, this wouldn’t get you anywhere when a human reviewed your application. 

We hope these tips have been helpful! Once you feel your CVs in tip-top shape, why not head over to our opportunities page and see what current roles we have available? One of them could be just the role for you.


Subscribe to get News & Updates

Sign up for AAI’s monthly snapshots on hiring, retention, and inclusion, along with exclusive whitepapers on the latest hot topics.

Subscribe to AAI News and Updates

By submitting this form, you agree to AAI's Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time.