How to write a CV to get past robot recruiters

Published on 08/03/2022 by Ojasvini

A well-written curriculum vitae (CV) can potentially help you get past robot recruiters. This article will discuss robot recruiters, followed by the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in recruiting and lastly, steps on how to write a CV to ensure robots read it.

A well-drafted CV can help you get past an ATS or robot recruiters

As per a report by Research and Markets, the global market for applicant tracking systems (ATS) is predicted to grow to US$2 billion by 2027. This study could indicate that many organisations might be adopting this technology to scan CVs for potential candidates. Having a well-drafted CV is perhaps the first and one of the most important steps in the process of applying for a new job position. Applicant tracking software —in this case— can help organisations effectively manage the hiring process.

In addition to this, your CV may likely be first scanned by application tracking systems before it goes into the hands of a human resource representative. In this article, we will specifically focus on how to write a CV to get past robot recruiters, potentially helping to increase your chances of getting a job. 

What is a robot recruiter and how does it work?

A robot recruiter or applicant tracking system (ATS) is technology that helps organisations filter out CVs sent by candidates for specific job openings. According to an article by Employment Hero, the average cost of hiring a new employee lies between US$3,500 to US$5,000. This study could suggest that many organisations would want to carefully screen CVs before investing time and effort on interviews and spend such an amount only on a candidate who could justify the cost. An ATS or robot recruiter can potentially help in situations like these.

An ATS scans a candidate’s CV for specific keywords, job titles, and phrases that could help determine how relevant and suitable the applicant may be for a particular role. According to Capterra, many application tracking systems are comprised of an interface with the help of which recruiters can access and manage current job openings in an organisation. For instance, when you apply for a job position online, your CV might first go to the ATS and then to a human resource recruiter or hiring manager. The possibility that your CV would reach the HR department would depend on how well-structured and optimised your CV is to pass ATS algorithms. 

There might be many different types of CV formats. However, each candidate and every application would need a different approach. Some of the commonly used CV types include the following:

Some of the commonly used types of CV formats

What is the role of AI in recruitment? 

As per an article by Pro Bono Australia, ‘artificial intelligence is being used across Australia by recruiters to find new employees’. The study further mentioned that AI might help remove biases in the recruitment process, which might lead to a more diverse workforce.

The role of artificial intelligence in recruitment would be to help organisations carefully screen and shortlist potential candidates for a particular job position. In collaboration with machine learning tools, AI technology can help provide a pre-qualifying procedure —such as automating the screening of CVs, sending test assignments, and sharing interview invites— for candidate selection, thereby helping recruiters save some time and focus more on interviewing pre-qualified and screened candidates. AI can also help companies look for past candidates who may have applied earlier and may now fit a particular role.

How to write a CV to get past robot recruiters?

To get past a robot recruiter, you might need to know how to draft your CV. An ATS tool may be programmed to capture keywords present in a CV along with other relevant information such as job titles, experience, qualifications, and the names of former companies a candidate may have worked for. Below, we have listed some steps to write an efficient CV that may help to get past robot recruiters or ATSs.

Select a text-based application for writing your CV

A text-based application —for example, a Microsoft Word document— can be used to draft your CV. Files sent in such a format might be accessible by all, and thereby the probability of a recruiter receiving and reviewing your CV could be higher. 

Draft an appropriate layout of your application

Before actually starting to write your CV, you should ideally draft a rough layout of which section would go first —for example, work experience— and which could go last —for instance, other achievements— and what points you plan to cover. This way, you would likely be able to focus specifically on important parts —such as job titles, phrases, and keywords— that might be worth mentioning to ensure robot recruiters shortlist your CV. 

Mention your job description title in your work history

For adding the job description title, you could opt for the reverse-chronological CV type. With this format, you can list down your most recent work experience, followed by the companies you have previously worked for, meaning in descending order. Ideally, your job title should be clear and readable for an ATS system. 

Use specific keywords related to the posted job profile

The next step would be to include the necessary keywords in your CV. You can select keywords from the description of the job you are applying to and add them to your CV in different sections —such as in the daily job responsibilities, technical skills, additional skills, experience, and others. An important thing to remember would be to add the keywords naturally and not overuse them in your CV as that might alert the ATS platform, and your CV might get rejected. 

Highlight instances involving achievements

You can highlight and mention instances where you might have performed extraordinarily well in your previous job roles. For example, a person working in a personal loan company could include the total loan disbursements and revenue generated by them in their CV. 

Check the formatting of your CV

The last step would be to check the formatting of your CV. The content of your CV should be crisp and laid out neatly —for example, using bullet points instead of icons and symbols— and you can opt to follow a minimal colour theme, meaning your CV would not end up having too many different colours. Applicants should always check for typos and spelling errors as that could also lead to rejection by an ATS. There might be specific algorithms that an ATS could follow, and thus, the content and format of your CV should be straightforward and should not be confusing or complex to read.

What’s the final takeaway?

A practical approach to writing a CV might help you get past robot recruiters. There might not be a specific type of CV that would work for everyone. However, customising your CV according to the job description and the position you are applying for might help ensure that an ATS tool or robot recruiter reads it. So ideally, you should focus on crafting your CV keeping in mind the particulars of a job posting.

Looking for applicant tracking software? Take a look at our catalogue!

This article may refer to products, programs or services that are not available in your country, or that may be restricted under the laws or regulations of your country. We suggest that you consult the software provider directly for information regarding product availability and compliance with local laws.

About the author

Content Analyst for Australia. Focusing on insights about software technolgies critical to SMEs. Insipred by growing tech trends and how these help SMEs to grow.

Content Analyst for Australia. Focusing on insights about software technolgies critical to SMEs. Insipred by growing tech trends and how these help SMEs to grow.

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