A growing reason many candidates are not getting reactions to their CV is the ATS (Applicant Tracking System). These tracking systems are scanning our documents, deciding they don’t fit a certain criteria and “rejecting” them.
What is good ATS score?
The ATS assigns a score to every ATS CV. Only submissions with the highest score ever get out of the database to a desk. This is ironic as computer tech has made it easier to find and apply for jobs, while something like an ATS is turning away an astonishing 70 percent of submissions. We need to optimise our CV to ensure they pass the ATS challenge. Here are 10 solid tips for improving a CV’s ATS score. So above 80% ATS score is always good to get a dream job.
Table of contents
- – Do not use graphics or images
- – Avoid special characters
- – Give the skills section special care
- – Watch the typos
- – Use the job description for inspiration
- – Keep contact information at the top
- – Choose readable fonts
- – Don’t try to fool the system
- – Relevant content is more important than ever
- – Personalise every CV
1. Do not use graphics or images
The ATS breaks down information, sorting it into readable categories. It cannot read visuals and hence will lower overall scores.
2. Avoid special characters
For bullets, stick with standard black circles. Arrows, squares and other characters could stop the ATS from correctly parsing information, possibly dismissing important data as irrelevant.
3. Give the skills section special care
The ATS is looking for words that indicate technical and specialised skill. Put in computer programs, competencies, training and other strengths, especially industry-specific ones. Use recognisable acronyms and abbreviations.
4. Watch the typos
As if we can’t stress enough that a CV has to be grammatically and punctually correct. The ATS will not read words that are misspelled, including all-important keywords. It’s critical to read the CV three and four times.
5. Use the job description for inspiration
Carefully review the job post. Identify industry terms, required skills, jargon and buzzwords. Incorporate them into the CV. Be precise. If the listing requires “document management expertise,” don’t say “expert in document management.”
6. Keep contact information at the top
The ATS cannot appreciate creative formatting. The tracking system reviews CV traditionally: Heading, Summary, Work Experience, etc. Swap it up and it may not scan material appropriately. The ATS could also automatically send an email, but won’t be able to if it believes it can’t find contact info.
7. Choose readable fonts
No CV should use more than two fonts anyway, but for the ATS, stick with readable, web-safe fonts like Georgia, Courier, Arial, Times New Roman and Impact. Go near any other in your library and risk the ATS not being able to recognise text.
8. Don’t try to fool the system
It’s not unusual for hiring managers and recruiters to highlight a CV and find all the white fonts used to hide keywords. Some sophisticated systems can find it themselves and will reject those CV anyway.
9. Relevant content is more important than ever
Irrelevant information lowers scores. If the info isn’t directly related to the job in question, you risk the ATS’ wrath. Make every word, bullet and sentence count.
10. Personalise every CV
To truly get past the ATS, every CV should be tailored to the specific job listing. This is a piece of advice that CVeHelp has always supported, ATS or not. A stylised CV with unique formatting, infographics and video is still viable, but be sure it won’t be screened by an ATS. Otherwise, stick with a .DOC or .PDF. Should you get the interview, send your fancy CV beforehand.
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