SECRET TIPS ON WRITING ATS COMPATIBLE CV
Not every CV is compatible with the ATS (Applicant Tracking System). The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software that is used by recruiters to organize job applications, filter every submitted CV/résumé, and forward only the most relevant, qualified job seeker to the hiring manager or recruiter.
The way your CV is written will determine if it will be selected or rejected. Although if rejected it may not imply that you have a bad CV or that you have low experience or that you are not qualified, it could be that the ATS was not able to detect some specific keywords that are needed for the position. Hence, to write an ATS compatible CV, make use of these tips.
TIPS ON WRITING ATS COMPATIBLE CV
NB: Before writing your CV, ensure you’re qualified for the role you are applying for.
TIP 1: USE WORD DOCUMENT TO CREATE YOUR CV/RESUME – DON’T USE PDFs
Make use of Word document, not PDFS when submitting your CV/résumé. The reason is that; word documents are easy for the ATS to parse while PDFs pose some difficulty for the ATS.
TIP 2: YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION SHOULD BE THE FIRST THING ON YOUR CV/RESUME
Let your contact information be the first thing you write in your CV. Contact information should include your place of residence, phone number, and email. The ATS takes note of those first.
TIP 3: MAKE USE OF COMMON WORDS FOR SECTION HEADERS
You don’t need to be too creative because, if the ATS doesn’t recognize any of your section headers, it may not analyze the information at all.
TIP 4: DON’T COMBINE TWO SECTIONS OF YOUR RESUME INTO ONE
Do not combine two sections of your header into one. For example; your “skills” is one header and “hobbies” is another header. Don’t write skills/hobbies as one section header.
TIP 5: END COMPANY’S NAME WITH COMMON COMPANY RELATED ABBREVIATIONS
End the names of the companies that you list in your CV (previous work experiences) with common company abbreviations. For example; Ltd, Inc, etc.
Tip 6: INCLUDE SKILLS WITHIN YOUR JOB DESCRIPTION (Right Keywords)
When describing your previous job experiences, always include the skills you acquired or made use of. This is because what the Applicant Tracking System is programmed to do when it reads a CV/résumé is the same as what a person would do; it is scanning for key information to find out whether or not you are a match for the job opening. Hence, you want to make sure that key skill or experience is present and that it is easy to find. Consequently, your skills are keywords for the ATS, and this leaves you with an ATS compatible CV.
TIP 7: AVOID “NESTING” JOBS IF YOU HAVE HELD SEVERAL POSITIONS AT THE SAME COMPANY
What this means is; you should not enclose different positions you have held into each other because you held them in the same company. If you worked as a clerk in a company and later you were promoted to be a technical staff and further an executive… do not describe these three positions in a sentence or short paragraph. Write about each position independently.
TIP 8: INCLUDE START AND END DATES FOR EVERY POSITION
For each position you’ve held, include the start and end dates. If you are still holding a position, use common words such as “current” or “present” in place of the end date. Also, spell out the month instead of using the MM/YY abbreviation. Example; September 2001 should be used not 09/2001
TIP 9: BE CONSISTENT WITH HOW YOU STRUCTURE YOUR JOB DESCRIPTION
Each of your job descriptions should be written in the same order and include;
a. Job title
b. Company’s name
c. Company’s location (city/province)
d. Dates of employment
TIP 10: FORMATTING SHOULD BE SIMPLE
Do not include too much fancy formatting in your CV/résumé. Creative or fancy resumes are not only harder for ATS to read, but also harder for recruiters to read. In other to scan your CV for relevant keywords most ATSs convert the document to a text-only-file. Sadly, any fancy formatting will be lost.
Your formatting should be kept simple, that is;
a. Do not store information in column, footers, headers, templates, fields or tables
b. Do not use images or fonts that create symbols, like wing dings.
c. Do not make use of paragraphs within a single job description. Because information that belongs together may be split up.
Editor’s Recommendation: How to Optimize Your CV to Pass-through ATS
ATS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT DOES THE ATS DO?
The ATS acts as an electronic gatekeeper for the hiring manager or recruiter. What the ATS does is to analyze CVs/résumé’s content into sections and then scans it for specific keywords to determine if the job application should be passed along to the recruiters.
SHOULD MY ATS COMPATIBLE CV/RESUME BE IN PDF FORMAT?
Most ATS can easily read PDF or word format. So whether your CV is in PDF format or word document it will still be compatible by the ATS. Nevertheless, it all depends on following these secret tips on writing ATS compatible CV.
Moreso, since many ATSs are unable to read tables or graphics and symbols etc, it’s best to avoid using them.
CAN ATS READ TWO COLUMN CV/RESUME?
A resume with two columns is not bad but might be bad for an ATS. An ATS may not be able to read a CV/résumé with two columns and will therefore discard it.
WHAT IS THE BEST FORMAT TO SEND A CV/RESUME?
This depends on the direction you were given in the job post. Well, for a CV submitted through an application system, follow the directions specified. While if you are sending a resume directly to the contact or hiring manager through email, a PDF is your best choice.
WHY DO RECRUITERS MAKE USE OF ATS?
Recruiters make use of ATS because it helps them manage their end to end recruitment process from sourcing to hiring. Also, ATS helps the recruiter to automate their organization’s recruiting and staffing operations.
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