Although the traditional method of reviewing and evaluating CVs still exists many companies have now shifted to more sophisticated methods. 90% of Fortune 500 companies now pre-filter candidates using Applicant Tracking Software (ATS). To maximise your chances of getting through to interview stage you need to ensure that your CV is optimised and ATS friendly.
An ATS is a type of software that handles the recruitment process within organisations by sorting thousands of CVs and applications, determining which applicants match up to job roles. The ATS also allows the organisation to collect and store candidate and job related data and track the progress of candidates through all stages of the hiring process.
ATS save employers time and money. The software streamlines the entire recruitment process, enhances communication and ensures best practices. This in turn reduces administration and the overall time taken to hire. It prevents duplicate applications and allows recruiters to source candidates from an existing talent pool, which contributes to better workforce planning and budgeting. ATS are commonly used in larger organisations, however, smaller companies are also beginning to incorporate them into their internal recruitment strategies.
If an organisation is using an ATS, when you submit your CV your personal information, education, skills and work experience will be uploaded onto a central system.
Recruiters will then search for candidates using keywords related to a particular job. To ensure that you’re appearing and ranking high in the search results, your CV needs to reflect the keywords mentioned in the job description. Recruiters will search on qualifications, functional skills, location and software. You may find that even though you applied for a role in the past in which you were unsuccessful, the ATS will keep the CV on the database and may potentially identify you as a good fit for future roles.
The process of tailoring your CV so it’s picked up by an ATS is similar to the process of Search Engine Optimisation. SEO is the process of tailoring website content to make sure that search engines include and rank it high on the list of search results. This in turn drives traffic towards the site. If your website contains the keywords that the user types in to Google, the higher up it will appear in the search results. The same principle applies to your CV within an ATS.
When recruiters search for keywords in the ATS they will usually focus on functional skills. If you’re applying for a role as an Accountant, they’ll use phrases like ‘Management Accountant’, ‘budgeting’, ‘variance analysis’, ‘SAP’ or ‘pivot tables’. Recruiters tend not to use soft skills such as ‘confident’ or ‘team player’ as part of their search criteria, so it’s important to put an emphasis on technical skills relevant to the role and industry.
Researching the job and organisation will help you find the right keywords to include and maximise your chances of getting through to interview stage. Your CV should be tailored in line with the job description to reflect how you meet the job specification. Getting to know the organisation will enable you to use relevant language and examples that match their culture and ethos. You could also research individuals who are already part of the company on LinkedIn and see if you can mirror any of the relevant courses or qualifications they have listed.
Does your CV contain the right words? To check, copy and paste it into Wordle to generate a word cloud based on the most mentioned keywords.
If you’re unemployed or facing redundancy we can help. Work one-to-one with a professional career coach online, over the phone, or face-to-face and find your way back to work. CABA’s career coaching support is available free of charge to all past and present ICAEW members, ACA students, ICAEW staff members, their husbands, wives, life partners or dependent children up to the age of 25.
This article was written by the career coaching experts at Renovo.