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Why should you care about ATS?

ATS is a buzzword that’s being bantered around many a careers office – but what’s it all about?

Simply, it’s software that is now being used by a lot of larger organisations to vet candidates before a human reviews their CV.

The software scans submitted CVs for keywords which relate to the requirements of the job such as particular skills, qualifications and experience. Those candidates that appear to meet the requirements are then reviewed by a person.

Large firms receive innumerable levels of applications for some of their positions, so ATS software saves them a lot of time. It filters out applicants that don’t meet the job spec but have applied nonetheless.

On the downside, ATS software filters out some applicants that DO meet the job spec by accident.

62 percent of companies using applicant tracking systems admit “some qualified candidates are likely being automatically filtered out of the vetting process by mistake,” according to a joint CareerArc/Future Workplace survey.

“From resume screening tools to Robot Vera, an AI-based software technology that helps recruit and hire humans, it’s safe to say that the robots have become a necessary evil that job seekers need to contend with,” Amy Elisa Jackson at Glassdoor says.

There are two main aspects to ‘beating’ ATS software. The first is to make good use of the job advert and the keywords within it. If the job advert requests a particular degree, USE the exact words on your CV (assuming you have the equivalent qualification). So for example if you have degree XYZ and it’s equivalent to degree ABC, state on your CV ‘Degree XYZ (equivalent to Degree ABC)’. That way, the system can pick up the keyword it is looking for and the human reviewer (rather than the system) can make a decision as to whether they’ll accept your equivalent degree at a later stage.

Aside from using the same keywords found in the job advert on your CV, the other aspect to beating the ATS is choosing an ATS-friendly CV template. This means choosing a template that doesn’t use columns or tables, and avoids fancy graphics. CV Template Master have put together a range of CVs that meet this criteria. “Not every company uses ATS,” explains Martin Carline, a recruitment expert on CV Template Master’s team. “But ATS-friendly CVs tend to follow good design principles anyway – no graphics, no clutter, no fuss and a clean layout – so you may as well use an ATS-friendly template regardless of who you’re applying to.”

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