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How does an ATS system work and how can I beat it?



An ATS works by scanning the keywords in one’s CV and matching it with the job description. If the required keywords are not in the CV, the application may be rejected. This leads to wastage of time and effort for the candidate as a recruiter does not read the application.

In order to write an effective CV that beats the ATS, one must take care of the following factors:

  • Use the relevant keywords: While writing a CV, ensure that you use keywords that match the job description. Doing this reduces the chances of your CV being discarded by a recruiter.

  • Don’t use borders or decorate your CV: If you’re a creative individual, you may be tempted to decorate your CV. Unfortunately, the ATS has difficulty processing CVs with borders. If you are applying for a creative role, send your portfolio in a separate document.

  • Write full names: Do not use abbreviations in your CV. This can prevent the ATS from identifying the relevant keywords.

  • Proofread your work: Your CV is the first impression of you. Proofread your CV and ensure that you avoid spelling and grammatical mistakes. If a keyword is misspelled, the ATS systems may not be able to identify it.

  • Follow up with your recruiter: Many candidates do not follow up with their recruiter. Ask any relevant questions regarding the company to your recruiter. This shows him/her that you’re interested in the job opportunity.

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