How to ensure your CV wins the ATS game

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A CV is a very important tool when it comes to getting you hired. It should include important information about your work experience, your skills, and your education. Building one like ResumeBuild suggests is a great way to ensure you get a good chance of getting a callback. 

However, many companies are now using ATS (applicant tracking systems) to vet and categorize CVs as they come in. You could have the best one on the planet, but if it is not optimised to get past these systems, a hiring manager may never actually get their hands on it.

Thankfully, there are a few different things you can do to give your CV a good chance of getting past the ATS. With that in mind, let’s look at a couple of different ways to make sure that your CV wins the ATS game.

Use the Right Keywords


When an ATS software scans a CV, just like when a hiring manager does it, it looks for keywords or phrases. It is sifting through the lines of text within your CV to see if you are a good fit for the position or not. So be sure to use plenty of words that could be beneficial for the type of job you’re applying for.

This could be your major, a specific skill, coding languages, and a variety of other things. If you’re confused about which keywords to use, looking at the job posting or description is a good idea. It will normally contain plenty of keywords that it couldn’t hurt to include. Of course, don’t just toss these keywords anywhere, as that won’t work. You need to be sure they are put in a place that makes sense and has context. 

Watch Your Format


Some people pride themselves on their creative and unique formats and templates. However, while they might be good looking and might get some good reactions, ATS software doesn’t really like creative CVs. If it is formatted in a complex manner, the software might have trouble reading it altogether. 

ATS software will usually change your CV into a text file anyways, so all the glitz and glamor won’t help you, only hurt you. Keep your format as simple as possible to give yourself the best chance of success. It should be free from images, logos, graphics, and uncommon fonts.

In addition to having a simple and clear format, it’s also a good idea to make sure that you keep the content quite simple. The easier it is to scan your CV quickly and efficiently, the easier it should be able to pass through the ATS.

Be Specific


If your CV is too generic, it will have a hard time passing through the ATS. If you simply send out the same CV to multiple different companies, there is a good chance it won’t be specific enough to pass through many ATS software. Your CV should be customized for every position you apply for.

Sure, having a base CV that you can work off of is ideal, but make sure it is edited to make the most sense for each company or position. Be sure to stay critical when creating your CV as well. Look long and hard at it to see if it is specific enough or if more work needs to be done.


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