A resume or CV is a document that is often used in the hiring process. This document includes information about your background, qualifications, experience, and it must include the most relevant information that your potential employers have to know, clearly and concisely. However, in today’s age of technology, CVs rarely make it past the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) into the hands of your potential employer. You need to counter this by making sure that your CV is as ATS friendly as possible, to increase your chances of employment.
What is an Applicant Tracking System?
You can think of ATS as electronic gatekeepers for employers and hiring managers. They do the work of vetting out irrelevant or unqualified applicants, so that the recruiters' time may be used to evaluate the candidates who are a better match. The ATS uses keywords to determine the most suitable candidates and it tends to have embedded artificial intelligence that mimics the human thought process.
If you are applying to a large organization, the chances are you will have to face an ATS. If you apply online through an organization’s website, your CV will pass through an ATS. Job sites such as Indeed or LinkedIn also have their built-in ATS.
Hence you must write a CV that beats the ATS so that it may be seen by human decision-makers! If you have been applying for jobs and not getting the required feedback, then it could be that your CVs are not getting into the hands of human decision-makers because they are not ATS friendly. Well, do not fret! We are here to help you write a CV that will beat the ATS system, giving you a better chance and landing the job you desire.
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How to Write an ATS-friendly CV:
It is important to navigate the ATS with an ATS-friendly CV so that you may be able to move to the next round of the hiring process, improving your chances of employment. Here are some tips on writing an ATS-friendly CV.
1. Choose an ATS friendly file type
Save your CV as a PDF or .docx file. Some of the older ATSs have trouble reading pdf files, however, if the job advert does not specify which format to use, then you may use a .pdf or .docx file. The following fonts are ATS friendly, Times New Roman, Calibri, Arial, or Georgia.
2. Do not put important details on the header or footer
Avoid using headers or footers because the information in headers and footers may often get lost or cause errors. Avoid this by not putting important details (such as background, contact information, education, experience, and skills) on the header or footer of your CV.
3. Optimize your CV with keywords
This is the best way to ensure that your CV is ATS friendly! The primary job of the ATS is to track the most suitable candidates for a position through scanning the keywords! Therefore, you must optimize your resume whenever you apply for a new position for that position. Use the keywords from the job description on your CV. It is also very important to label your headings correctly. ATS-friendly CV headings include work experience, skills, and education.
4. Avoid images, charts, and other graphics
While images, charts, and other graphics (such as tables), may look nice to the human eye, the ATS is unable to read it, therefore that information will be lost on the applicant tracking system. Including images in your CV may result in it being automatically discarded.
5. Stick to simple bullet points
Bullet points, if used correctly, are a great way of highlighting your accomplishments and qualifications. Do not use any fancy bullet points, use simple options such as the solid circle, open circle, or square. The solid circle is the most advisable. It is also important to format your resume in the following manner: use font between 10–12-point size, use 1-1.5 inches on your margins, make your name and section headers bold or slightly bigger in font size, and list your information in bullet points.
Now that you know and understand the ATS, it is time to get to work and optimize your resume to beat the ATS system! Once you have done that, you may utilize resume review websites, that will provide expert feedback on your CV, they will also provide feedback on whether your CV would make it past an ATS system. The following are good resume review websites that you can try out; ZipJob, Jobscan, TopResume, Resume Worded, and RezScore.
This will greatly boost your chances of being selected and moving to the next phase of the recruitment process. All the best!
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