You’ve got a master CV. Your details, qualifications, employment history and references are all there and once it gets to the hiring manager, you’re bound to make an impact. But there’s still one hurdle.

Despite your expertly crafted CV and wealth of experience, there’s a chance that the hiring manager might not even get to read it. That’s because many employers implement the use of Applicant Tracking Software as part of the hiring process. Studies show that around 75% of recruiters use ATS with 80% of those recruiters speaking highly of its effect in terms of the quality of candidates. This means you’ll have much more of a chance at an interview if you’re aware of how ATS is used within the process. So what is ATS?

Applicant Tracking Software is a software that some employers use to automatically scan through CVs and determine the most desirable for the advertised position. Due to the rate of applications some employers receive, this piece of software can be valuable in saving time and money whilst instrumental finding suitable candidates. 

How does ATS Work?

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ATS will scan a document to look for specific keywords and then then sort that information out into specific categories, such as experience, education and qualifications

Each of the qualifying information is then quantified and ranked via an algorithm based on how well it matches up with the job listing. Only the candidates that best match up with the job description are seen by a human being.

So we’ve put together a guide for getting past ATS.

Include specific keywords from the job description

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As the software relies on specific keywords and phrases, the easiest way to tailor your CV for this software is to read the job description, pick out keywords and include them into your job description. Be careful not to just copy and paste all of the keywords; these softwares are becoming more sophisticated and can root out when your CV is a little bit hollow in that regard. Remember, your CV has to still be your own (this is useful for when a human gets it). But for now, a mixture of cherry-picked words and paraphrasing of the job description is a way to make your CV robust.

Scan through the job listing and highlight any keywords that might be useful to your CV. The temptation is to create a single section that lists all of the qualities they are looking for. However, it’s much more effective to use the adjectives found in the job listing to supplement your existing qualifications.

Make your use of keywords consistent throughout your ENTIRE CV

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ATS can tell when you’ve concentrated all of your keyword usage within a single section, negatively impacting your favourability within the ATS scan. Therefore, it’s important to make your entire CV as ATS-proof as possible, sometimes repeating keywords or desired qualities (although not too much as this can negatively affect your ATS score too.)

Proofread your CV for any spelling mistakes

Since ATS is an automated process, it simply cannot understand if you misspell a word. That’s why it’s more important than ever to make sure your CV is perfectly grammatically sound. We often rely on that little red squiggle to tell us which words are misspelled. However, even if your CV is free of red it’s still important to read over your CV as it doesn’t always highlight when you you use the wrong spelling of a word or make a subtle typo. Case in point: the spellchecker found no thing wrong with the sentence I just hyped. 

Those are our top tips for tailoring your CV to get it past the Applicant Tracking Software. It’s important to note that these tips will also improve your CV overall, as tailoring your CV for every job you apply for is an important part of the application process. Once your CV passes the ATS test, your CV has also benefitted in the eyes of the human recruiter too.