By Michelle Wanjiku
Do you ever wonder why you never get called for an interview yet you know you were qualified for that position? Well, it could be that your CV didn’t even reach the hiring manager or HR person.
Nowadays, more and more organizations are using applicant tracking systems to make the recruitment process easier for them. These systems basically cut down the number of applications one has to go through by removing the irrelevant ones.
The systems scan your CV for keywords relating to what the organization is looking for and sending the qualified ones to the HR.
This means that even though you are qualified for the position, if the applicant tracking system does not mathematically think you qualify then your CV will never be seen by human eyes.
This is why it is very important for you to ensure that your CV is formatted correctly in order to ensure that it does not slip through the cracks and end up in the trash.
So how do you ensure that your Curriculum Vitae is actually seen by the HR?
1. Keep Formatting Simple
You might want to impress the hiring manager and make your CV unique by adding fancy fonts and colors, but if you want it to get past the ATS then it is advisable for you to remove all of these.
Sadly, ATS software can’t read everything which means that no matter how creative you are and want to add photos and graphs to your CV, this is not a good idea.
When writing our CV, use the normal fonts and keep everything simple, you don’t want to confuse the system because then your application will end up in the trash.
Another important thing to remember is when sending your application, use Word format unless the job requires another format. This makes it easier for the ATS software to read your document.
2. Use Correct Keywords
The applicant tracking systems will rank CVs depending on the keyword density in each of them. The fewer keywords your CV has the less your chances of it being seen by a human being.
What are these keywords you ask?
Well, every profession has its own lingo, certificate requirements, responsibilities and more, such as CPA for accountants, Adobe Photoshop for designers and so on.
This means that when it comes to writing your CV; ensure that you use these phrases or words more than once. You can even go as far as using both the acronym and full spelling e.g. Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
The most important thing to remember when doing this is to ensure you don’t stuff keywords in your CV. You cannot trick the system and even if you do manage to get your CV to the HR, they will still throw it out because it probably won’t make any sense and you still lose.
3. Highlight your skills and experience
Most employers use the ATS software to check CVs for industry-specific qualifications; this means that it is very important for you to ensure that you highlight those specific skills.
There is no point in focusing on skills such as Good communication skills, leadership or the likes, more emphasis should be put on position based skills.
For example, as an accounting professional, you should highlight the ability to use accounting software and experience in the same.
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4. Double Check for spelling mistakes
I am very bad at spelling; so I always go through anything I write to ensure there are no mistakes. If you are like me, then you need to ensure you always go through your CV before sending it.
Spelling mistakes are a no when it comes to CVs, they show carelessness and in this case, the ATS software will not be able to tell what you were trying to write.
Many employers will throw away any application that is full of spelling mistakes and errors; the same also applies to the software.
You don’t want to miss out on a great job opportunity just because you didn’t go through your CV before sending it.
It’s important to remember that even though you are writing your CV with the ATS robots in mind, you should not forget that the goal is to impress the recruiter enough to get shortlisted for an interview.
So even when you are adding industry-specific keywords, keep in mind that it is the recruiter who finally decides who gets the job not the software.
Learning how to write a CV that gets past the software is the first step in ensuring that you increase your chances of getting a job, which is why you should be using professional CV writers to ensure you boost your chances of getting your dream job.
The writer is a Communication Officer/Digital marketer at Career Point Kenya. Email: email@example.com