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Getting through Applicant Tracking Systems

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is computer software many employers use to help them find the best candidates. They automatically scan each CV to find key words and select those that best match the job description.

It’s an efficient way for employers to organise their recruitment, but it can mean that some qualified applicants won’t get through the ATS if their CV doesn’t cover the right things.

But don’t worry, here are some tips to help make sure your CV gets seen by a recruiter.

  • Spot the key words in the job advert and use them in your CV. If you have tailored your CV to the specific job, it’s more likely that the ATS will recognise this.
  • Keep it clear and concise. Use bullet points and break up long and complicated sentences. These make it easier for the ATS to read.
  • Don’t use pictures, tables or diagrams. These are harder for an ATS to read. Stick to standard wording, formats and headings. (If you want to include pictures etc. to show your skills, put them in a separate document.)
  • Check for typos and spelling mistakes. An ATS may not pick up a key word if it’s misspelt.
  • Check the file format you are using. A docx file format (a standard Microsoft Word document) is usually the best for an ATS to read.

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