How to Beat the (Applicant) Systems

How to Beat the (Applicant) Systems

Recruitment professionals are relying more and more on computerised systems. It makes sense considering computers help us do everything else in life. An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) enables us to source, screen, assess and engage with job seekers all over the world. We can do this faster and more accurately while maintaining a personal relationship with each person.

When you construct your CV or job application you can use this to your advantage. Crafting your CV to work with the system not only helps you get to the top of the pile, it also helps the recruiter find you. Below are some steps you can take to beat the system and get noticed.

Forget Fancy Formats

Modern applicant tracking systems can read a CV and parse it into specific fields for categorising. This means we can find you by your education or experience and skills easily to match you to a job.

Fancy CV’s with tables, tabs, and columns are not easily read by a computer, meaning it makes it more difficult for that system to find you later on during a search. Keep your layout simple and flowing from top to bottom. As these systems improve and obtain more “human-like” reading abilities this will be less of a factor. For now, though, keep it simple for the “machine”.

Skills, skills, and more skills

Don’t just list your education and experience. Make a list of your skills and what problems you can solve for the potential employer. Often jobs with the same title perform different duties. The skills you list are a better indicator of whether you can do the job or not. This includes software packages you are proficient in.

Also Read: How to make a great CV

Word wins

PDF formats are nice if you don’t want someone to make changes to your CV. However, if you want a machine to read your CV, Microsoft Word is the standard. Most systems can read PDF if it is created from a Word document, but if in doubt, keep it a .doc file.

Printing your CV and scanning it into PDF, or saving as image files will prevent it from being read at all by the machine. All of this makes it harder for you to be found.

Keywords are the key

Are you using acronyms and terms that are standard for your industry? Depending on the system and the searcher, listing the acronym AND the expanded term gives you a better chance of being found.

Put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes, what terms would you search for to find you? Those would be the words you would use in your skills and duties on your CV.

Social Media is your friend

Use your social media to validate your CV offering. If your job titles on LinkedIN differ from those on your CV it can harm your credibility. At the same time, there are talent professionals and software that can search for your skills online. If you are looking for a job, make your digital footprint work for you.

Also Read: Time to Spring Clean Your Online Presence

As the world embraces technology, we need to know what we can do to get the most out of it. If done right, you will have opportunities looking for you instead of the other way around.

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