6 Tips for Optimizing Your CV for ATS

I once made an inquiry on my CV and why I wasn’t getting any interview invites on all the applications that I made. Evelyn a CV writing expert at Corporate Staffing went through my CV and noted mistakes that my CV had. She highlighted a few things that she noted some which I had heard before and some that I had never, for example, the ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems).

Evelyn said that many companies use the ATS to sort through large volumes of applications and that it is important for your CV to be scanned and read easily to avoid rejection.

In this article, I’ll share tips for optimizing your CV for ATS to increase your chances of advancing in the application process:

What is an ATS?

An ATS or recruitment system is software that allows recruiters and employers to manage candidate data, search for candidates, and respond to applicants. It typically contains a database with applicants’ details, a search engine for viewing candidates, and tools for replying to selected or rejected candidates.

1. Understand ATS

Before optimizing your CV for ATS, it’s important to understand how these systems work. ATS scans resumes for keywords, phrases, and specific formatting to assess relevancy to the job opening. Familiarize yourself with common ATS practices and the specific ATS software your prospective employers might use.

2. Use Keywords Wisely

Keywords are the backbone of the methods for tailoring your CV for ATS. Read through the job description thoroughly and identify relevant keywords and phrases. Incorporating these keywords into your CV can significantly increase your chances of passing the initial ATS screening.

3. Tailor Your CV

Avoid using a generic CV for all job applications. Customize your CV for each role by incorporating specific keywords from the job description. Tailoring your CV according to these tips for optimizing your CV for ATS improves your chances of being noticed by the system and advancing to the next stage.

4. Simple Formatting

Creative CVs might catch a human’s eye, but they can confuse ATS software. Stick to a clean and simple format with standard fonts like Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman, and use bullet points. Avoid headers, footers, text boxes, graphics, or tables that might not be accurately parsed by ATS. Simple formatting is a key aspect of tips for optimizing your CV for ATS.

5. Optimize File Type

Choosing the right file type is essential in strategies for enhancing your CV for ATS when submitting your CV online. Choose a file format that is easily readable by ATS. PDFs are generally a safe option as they retain formatting across devices and operating systems. However, some ATS might prefer Word documents (.doc or .docx).

6. Include Relevant Information

Focus on essential sections such as a summary statement, work experience, education, and key skills. While ATS can analyze various sections, ensure critical information is prominently placed within these core sections. Including relevant information is a critical tip for optimizing your CV for ATS.

Need more CV advice? It takes an employer just seven seconds to save or reject a job applicant’s CV. This means creating a brief CV is vital if you want to land that all-important interview. For more tips for optimizing your CV for ATS and making your CV stand out, consult our professional CV writers today!