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A to Z on ATS Systems: How do they work?

What does ATS stand for?

The term ATS stands for 'Applicant Tracking System' or 'Applicant Tracking Software' and relates to applications which recruiters use to shortlist candidate CVs for a specific role. For example, if 100 individuals apply for a specific role, then naturally, recruiters will not be able to manually read each CV to pick 10 for passing on to employers. So they use this software to make their lives easier by enabling these ATS systems to pick the most relevant candidates.

How do ATS systems work?

There are many different ATS systems out there, and they all work in different ways, so there is no 'one size fits all' approach to tailoring your CV. These systems use different algorithms to shortlist CVs, but generally they tend to evaluate the content within them, notably recognising keywords which align with the job descriptions for vacancies. This is why a professional CV writing service such as ours can help you to focus the content of your CV, which will make it favourable for these ATS systems and help you to get more responses when applying for jobs.

Top Tips and CV Advice

1. Understand the vacancy you are applying for and make sure your background and skills are aligned with what the employer is looking for.

2. Focus the content of your CV through the use of appropriate keywords and phrases, to ensure favourability for ATS systems.

3. Ensure your CV is text based without any fanciful designs, borders, tables, columns or stylised headers / footers - these tend not to be beneficial for ATS systems and can impact the readability of your CV by these in our experience.

4. Do not overload your CV with buzzwords without context. Yes, your professional CV should include all the important keywords, but they need to be written and incorporated within your CV in a seamless way which reads well. Otherwise, it may hit all the right notes with respect to ATS systems, but not with the recruiters or hiring managers when they come to actually read your CV.

5. Double check your CV for any spelling or grammar errors. Misspelt words and poor grammar shows a lack of attention to detail and care. It looks sloppy and will not give a good first impression to anyone reading your CV.

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