Article – ATS Applicant Tracking Software

Expert ATS Software Advice from CV Master Careers

ATS Software – Busting the Myths – Advice from our CV & Career Consultants 

There is a lot of myths and untruths surrounding ATS software. We know that it has created a lot of anxiety and worry about applying for jobs and how you should present your CV. We can help you to quickly understand ATS software and what it means for you, your job search and your CV. Here are a few questions we have received and some advice for you:

What does ATS mean? It means Applicant Tracking System.

What is an Applicant Tracking System? It is used to keep track of candidates who apply for positions in a company. Many people use the abbreviation ‘ATS’ for all elements of the software. The part of this system that is most relevant to jobseekers is the CV Parsing element of the software.

What is CV Parsing? This is the part of the software that checks that the keywords that apply to the role appear in your CV. For example: if you are looking for work as a Shop Assistant one of the keywords they may be looking for is “Retail”. The software could be set up in a number of ways, such as prioritising a CV that has a number of desirable keywords or length of relevant experience. It depends on how the software is set up, but you could be also be penalised for a number of ‘errors’ such as repeating the same words.

Who uses it? In general, the larger the company the more likely they are to use this software. It is particularly useful for companies that have a lot of applications. Smaller companies generally do not invest in such software. It is becoming more popular as is a way of reducing the number of CVs that recruiters need to look at when trying to fill a vacancy. It can also be useful when employers are looking to fill a very specific vacancy that requires precise and skills.

How can you ensure that you get through ATS (Parsing) systems? Generally, the more relevant, unique and applicable the keywords used, the more successful the CV will be in getting through the initial Parsing stage. It does depend on how the employer has set up the software. They could also be looking for a specific length of employment in a particular sector or role.

Are there any tricks to beat the software? We have been told of a large number of ‘secret’ ways in which you can get around the software. However, most of the ‘tricks’ do not enhance the CV and could look very unusual if an employer sees this. We have found one of the most important tips when thinking about ATS software is to bear in mind that if you get through the initial stages, your CV will be looked at by a human being. If you are lucky enough to proceed to the interview stage, your CV will probably form the basis of your interview. A potential employer at all stages will want to see the evidence of your skills and the information presented in a clear way, and they will still need to be able to see why you should get the job.

What can I do to improve my chances? You just need to ensure that the keywords that employers are looking for are contained within your CV. Although it sounds easy, it does take more technique than CVs required in the past. You need to study the Job Description carefully to ensure that you understand what an employer is looking for. You need to reflect the keywords that appear, but you need to avoid just cutting and pasting the exact words, you could be penalised for this. Be creative to cover the keywords that employers would be targeting. Check your spelling, a computer wouldn’t count misspelt words.

As we have been aware of this trend in recruitment for some time, we already optimise all the CVs that we have write with ATS software in mind.

We are one of the only companies to be able to write for ATS software and the human reader. We understand that we have to satisfy both of the readers and enable each reader to see what you have to offer. 

If you would like to discuss your situation with an experienced CV Writer to see if we can help please call us on 0800 246 1857 or 0845 003 9557

We Produce ATS-Friendly CVs

All CVs created by CV Master Careers are ATS-Friendly. This means that they have been prepared to ensure they work with Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) currently used by many recruiters. We have prepared all of our CVs in an ATS-Friendly format since 2005. We are also careful to ensure that your CV will still work for the Human reader!