Blog

7 September 2017
How to beat the robots so your CV gets seen

We have all experienced the generic job rejection email following having applied for a position. You are lucky to receive one nowadays due to the high volume of people who apply. Job descriptions now include the line ‘Due to the high number of applicants, we are unable to respond to everybody’. It may surprise you to discover that your CV may have not actually been read… by a human anyway. These robots are known as ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) or ‘Resume Robots’. Their function is to scan your CV to see if you qualify for the position in question. But how?

These robots now reject up to 75% of CVs before they even get to a human. Now that is a lot of CVs in some cases, but also time efficient for the person who is managing the hire. Applying for jobs has never been easier thanks to online applications, jobs boards with your saved CV and cover letter ready to go and the ‘Apply Now’ button on LinkedIn. Recruiters are turning to these robots to help clear out the rubbish and leave the good ones to select from.

If the robot doesn’t understand your CV and can’t ‘read’ it, it won’t select it. In turn, a human recruiter won’t even set their eyes on it diminishing all chances of you getting noticed. You need to be able to speak robot in order for your CV to get selected. Similarly, to how Google works with SEO (search engine optimisation) is how these robots function. If you understand SEO then you are in a good chance of being able to crack the code for robot talk!

Here are some tips to get you on the right track:

  • Formatting

The way in which your CV is laid out depends on how easily it can be read. Avoid pictures and graphics where possible. Use the same font. Don’t include graphs or tables. If you are using symbols keep it to simple bullet points and not ticks.

  • Keywords

These robots perform better when keywords are included in your CV and help you get pulled out of the crowd. Think of what you use to search for something on Google and the words you select. For example, Chinese takeaway in Bournemouth with free delivery. The search results will bring up relevant websites and choices based on the words you have used. Find and note the keywords used in the job overview and candidate specifications. Focus on both the role and industry in which you are applying for. This will give you a better chance.

  • Job titles

As we mentioned before about keywords, use accurate and clear job titles. Today we see many vibrant and fun job titles out there like ‘Sales ninja’, but in order for the robots to see whether you have the right previous experience use correct titles such as ‘Senior sales executive’.

  • Qualifications & Experience

Similarly, to the job titles, the robots are searching for required qualifications and experience. Lay out your qualifications clearly and label them correctly. Include software that you are proficient with also.

And our final bit of advice is consistency. Make sure you are consistent with what you have said on both CV and LinkedIn profile. Saves you getting caught out if you make your CV ‘fluffy’ to impress the reader. Good luck!

Candidate Hints & Tips