Have you ever tried so hard to write a resume but never seemed to get a call from potential employers? You don’t know why it happened even though the job was a perfect fit for you. Your profile and experience are probably not the problems – chances are, the one flaw that presents in your resume brings unfavorable results. This flaw can cause your resume to be buried under a massive pile of applications, especially when a recruiter or an employer is conducting a massive search to fill a vacancy.
To be even more specific, your CV hasn’t passed the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) filters. In other words, after all the effort you put into writing the CV, the ATS ruled out your CV in the first round of screening – before your resume even made it to an actual human to evaluate it.
Read more: How to Write a CV and Get Hired Quickly
ATS has become an essential tool for recruiters and companies to conduct a massive search for candidates. Therefore, you must know how to write a resume that tackles the ATS.
Before Word Philocaly talks about optimizing your CV for ATS, let’s understand better what an ATS does.
What is a recruitment ATS?
To filter a high volume of resumes, many recruiters or employers use software that makes it easier to pre-select CVs with tremendous potential. Most large companies use this type of automated system, and medium-sized companies increasingly join this trend – allowing them to save time and resources.
An ATS software can filter and reject more than 70% of CVs and job applicants that do not meet specific employment requirements. Sometimes, ATS declines a resume or CV just because the system doesn’t support the CV format and can’t recognize its content.
As a result, ATS drastically reduce the recruiters’ workload. However, ATS can be a double-edged sword as it can be detrimental to candidates who meet the desired criteria but do not have an ATS-passed resume.
ATS has many advantages for recruiters in terms of productivity and efficiency in the preselection process; the system also has its disadvantages :
- They can reject a CV because of a CV’s “wrong format” (formats don’t meet the ATS standards)
- ATS’ algorithms are not advanced enough to make a holistic analysis of the resume content
- A misconfiguration of ATS filters can lead to false selection and loss of valuable candidates
7 Tips to Write a CV for ATS Filters
Before you submit your CV in response to an ad to fill a position for a medium or large company, take the time to read these tips carefully. You don’t want to risk having a candidate tracking system shut you out for not optimizing your resume correctly.
1. Relevant Keywords
Make sure your CV has keywords relevant to the job you’re applying for. A great way to determine what these keywords are is by analyzing the ad. Then extract the key terms used in the job requirements. If you can’t find much information in a hiring ad, visit the company’s website to see if you can find more information.
Otherwise, you can look for other similar ads that can give you ideas of the most used keywords for certain types of jobs. Once you have a list of keywords, add them to your CV, recommendation letter, and cover letter.
2. Repeat Keywords
Use the main keywords more than once, as long as it sounds natural. Most ATS systems are not advanced enough to perform semantic analysis of keywords. As a result, ATS values keyword quantity more than quantity. But please don’t overdo it because if your resume passes the ATS filter, someone will read your CV. Therefore, you don’t want the recruiter to see your resume stuffed with many unnatural keywords – not a good impression at all.
3. A-List of Skills and Competencies
Add a list or summary of your skills, competencies, and other necessary qualifications. With this strategy, you have an opportunity to add those keywords that you can’t use naturally in another part of your CV. Remember to add keywords of greater weight several times (as discussed in point #2), as long as they sound and flow naturally.
4. Dates of Previous Employments
Don’t forget to indicate the dates of your previous jobs. It is ubiquitous for recruiters to use date filters in the ATS to rate the experience. Recruiters want to know the amount of time you worked in similar positions.
5. Clear Structure
Maintain a clear structure in each section when you write a resume. Do not mix list formats or combine too many fonts or sizes, especially if you plan to convert your CV into PDF.
While most ATS can read a PDF and can interpret different types of formats, a PDF may not be as ATS-friendly as you have thought. PDFs are not compatible with all ATS on the market. So please keep it clean, clear, and minimal.
It’s not worth the risk to have your resume bypassed just because your resume format doesn’t meet the ATS standards. So, the less outlined and well-structured your resume is, the better chance you have of passing the automatic preselection.
6. URL of Social Networks
Include URLs of your social networks. If you have a professional and personal brand on social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), don’t forget to include the URLs in your resume. Many recruiters use filters to track social media and assess your brand presence. Of course, make sure that your profiles are constantly updated and optimized, in line with the job scope and requirements.
7. Word Spacing
Thoroughly check the spacing between words when you write a resume. It is prevalent that people use symbols (such as vertical bars, slashes, and hyphens) to save space, simplify, or indicate a relationship between terms.
However, many ATS systems may misinterpret these terms if there is no space between two words linked by a symbol. For instance, ATS may regard “writer/translator” as a single word instead of identifying them separately. Thus, ATS can leave out your CV even if it contains the relevant keywords, just because you didn’t use spaces correctly between words.
You can easily avoid these pitfalls when you know what the ATS and recruiter want for the position and optimize your CV accordingly. Remember, you should optimize your resume for both humans and machines.
Word Philocaly can Help You Write a Resume that Passes ATS
Thinking you aren’t capable of doing it yourself? Fret not; Word Philocaly has a team of professional CV writers who can help you. We will advise you based on your job requirements and work together to create a resume from scratch or improve your current one. Shoot us a message now.