How to Optimize Your CV to Pass-through ATS

How to Optimize Your CV to Pass-through ATS

Employers use applicant tracking systems to optimize their recruitment processes. The ATS is used to sort applicants before they get to meet the hiring team. Therefore, it is paramount that you understand how to optimize your CV to pass-through ATS.

Did you see a notification on your job advert stating that your CV should be ATS enabled? But what is an ATS? How to optimize your CV to pass-through ATS when you apply for jobs online?

What Is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software that companies use to store, sort, and select candidates for consideration. ATS comprises of a searchable database that employers use to discover best-matched candidates for the role or roles that they’re working on. 

Most times, when you apply for a job through an online job portal, your application is first reviewed by the ATS. If the ATS finds that you’re a good match, your application will then proceed to the hiring officials.

 How the Applicant Tracking System Works

The ATS works by keywords. The ATS will score/rank your application according to relevant keywords that were identified on your CV. How the scoring is done is left to the company or hiring agency in charge. But, during a recruitment process, the recruiting company inputs the job qualifications into the ATS, and the ATS scores candidates according to the amount of identified keywords.


What is an ATS optimized CV?

An ATS optimized CV is a CV written in a way that makes it easy for Applicant Tracking System to parse your CV. ATS optimized CV has easy to scan formats and contains keywords that show that you are the best match for a job.

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How to Optimize Your CV to Pass-through ATS

So let’s break down the most important things to factor in as you optimize your resume for the ATS. 

1.     Keywords

For your CV to go through the ATS, you should consider aligning your CV with the stated job description(s).

Identify keywords that are used frequently and prominently in the job description and ensure you include them in your CV. Because these are the very terms a recruiter will input in the ATS when they’re searching for the best-matched candidates. Hence, should ensure that your CV contains those keywords and this will enable you to have a good ATS score.

2.     Job Titles

Consider using the exact job title listed in the job advert, because the ATS considers job descriptions when ranking candidates.

For example;

If you are applying for a secretary position, but your current job title is an office assistant, the best thing to do is to list yourself as a secretary on your CV. As a result, the ATS identifies that you line up with that job and increases your score.

3.     Formatting

Your CV format can disrupt the parsing process. Therefore, keep the format simple and straightforward, especially the columns, headers, fonts, and graphics. The worst that can happen to you is when you are qualified for a position, but your information parses into the ATS as a mess, the ATS will not score you as a strong match. 

How to Check if Your CV is ATS Optimized

You can check the ATS score of your CV using the following free online ATS checkers;

  1. Resume Scanner
  2. Live Career
  3. Cheap Resume Writing Service


Use standard PC fonts, like Arial, Garamond, Calibri. More so, avoid using a functional resume or one that features all of your career highlights and skills upfront without tying them to the corresponding role. Instead, use a reverse-chronological format or a hybrid format, which features a summary section at the top and then moves into your detailed experience.

I hope this was helpful? Do you have comments or questions on how to optimize your CV to pass-through ATS? Please let me know in the comment section.

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