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How To Get Your CV Seen

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Did you know that your CV may never actually get to meet a human being? These days the vast majority of recruiters feed the resumés they receive past the cold, dead eyes of a computer programme first.

The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a fickle thing. If it scans over your lovingly crafted CV and finds the required number of ‘hits’, you win – if not, then computer says no and onto the reject pile you go.  No matter how many witticisms you include and no matter how beautifully formatted, miss the keywords on your CV and you’re out. So how can you ensure yours passes the ATS filters? (Quick tip: upload it to ValueMyCV)

Follow These 11 Tips To Get Your CV Seen

  • Make it a Word document – Clever as these programmes are, a lot aren’t bright enough to read PDFs correctly.
  • Keep it plain – Again, they’re smart but not smart enough to decipher your clever graphics, quirky font or even your headers and footers. Keep all the info as plain, simple text – no tables, no columns and no fancy small caps or e x p a n d e d t e x t.
  • Contact details are key – Like their human counterparts, computers have a short attention span. Put your contact details first.
  • Never mix fonts and sizes – It just confuses the poor computer even more.
  • Use common headings – Don’t get clever when dividing your CV into different sections. They need to do exactly what it says on the tin – ‘Work Experience’, ‘Education’, ‘Personal Statement’.
  • Never combine sections – And we mean never. Merging sections such as ‘Education and awards’ only makes it harder for the machine to decipher.
  • Be consistent – If you’ve set out a past job as [Date][Title][Company][Location][Description], set the others out in exactly the same way.
  • Watch your spacing – Use a blank line between sections and paragraphs so the computer knows when to start and stop ‘reading’. Never use blank lines within paragraphs.
  • Include your skills within your work history – This is critical. The smarter software can match skills with dates to gauge your experience, so include your skills within the description of your past positions.
  • Don’t include references – The computer isn’t after human contact. A real flesh and blood recruiter might want to know, if you pass, but the computer isn’t interested.
  • Never leave out dates – Don’t lie, it will catch you out. Even if you’ve been unemployed for a stretch, include the start and end dates of all the jobs you’ve done.

The main thing to remember is that computers are not as intelligent as the films would have you believe. You need to dumb down to its level if you want to get past the ATS, so keep everything as simple and plain as you can to avoid scrambling its little brain.

If you want a quick and easy way to see if your CV will get past the filters used by recruitment software upload it to ValueMyCV today.