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Could a computer algorithm be deciding whether or not your CV or application gets read by a human recruiter?

· Job hunting,CVs,Job applications,AI,ATS


Overwhelmed HR departments are relying more and more on ATS Applicant Tracking Systems to help them filter the hundreds even thousands of applications they receive.

Have you been sending out scores of CVs and job applications but not been having any luck whatsoever even though you feel you are a perfectly qualified candidate? This could be one of the reasons behind the dearth of interview invitations. Don’t despair! Knowledge is power. Here are some tips to help you optimise your CV or application for ATS so that they rank you as a good match with the job description and get you past the Robot gate keepers to the next stage.

CVs and job applications

It is vital to tailor your CV and job applications to the specific job description and person specification you are targeting. You may end up sending out fewer CVs or applications but those you do will be more relevant and more likely to get you an interview. If you don't , you can bet that other candidates are.

When it comes to ATS simplicity is the best option.

How to format your CV and job application?

Graphics, graphs, logos, photos, unusual fonts or bullet points  won't be read properly by ATS so keep them off unless you are handing in your creative CV or job application in person or by snail mail.The same goes for footers and headers - so any vital information you want the employer to know should remain in the body of your CV or job application..

Don't feel that you need to paraphrase headings or keywords or skills. Make it easy for the algorithm and eventually the human reader to find the exact information they are looking for in their brief.

At least 75% of companies use ATS. (Source Capterra)

AI-powered technology is used in many aspects of recruiting. The danger in machine learning is that it can learn from embedded baises from the humans who gave them their initial data feed- but that is a whole new blog post!


Do you see ATS as discouraging individuality at the price of convenience? Do they overlook perfect candidates who may have a less traditional career path or who may have the right skills but a different job title? Or do you see them as something that will force candidates to pay more attention to what they actually put on their CVs and job applications? Share your thoughts.