What is an ATS in Recruitment and How to Write Your CV to Get Noticed

What is an ATS in Recruitment and How to Write Your CV to Get Noticed

June 28, 2024 0 Comments

In today’s competitive job market, getting your CV in front of a hiring manager can be a daunting task. With hundreds of applications pouring in for every open position, companies have turned to technology to streamline the hiring process. One such technology is the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). If you’re not familiar with how ATS works, you might be missing out on job opportunities. This blog will demystify ATS and provide you with actionable tips on how to tailor your CV to ensure it gets noticed.

  • What is an ATS?

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software application used by employers to manage the recruitment process. ATS helps to collect, sort, and rank job applications based on specific criteria set by the employer. This system simplifies the hiring process by filtering out unqualified candidates and highlighting those whose qualifications match the job description.

  • How Does an ATS Work?

When you submit your CV online, it first goes through the ATS before reaching human eyes. The ATS scans your document for keywords, skills, experience, and education that match the job description. It then ranks your CV against other applicants based on these criteria. Only the top-ranked CVs are forwarded to the hiring manager for review.

  • Why is ATS Important?

With the majority of large companies and many smaller ones using ATS, understanding how it works can significantly increase your chances of getting noticed. If your CV is not optimised for ATS, it might never reach a human recruiter, no matter how qualified you are for the job.


Tips for Writing an ATS-Friendly CV

  1. Use Relevant Keywords

Keywords are the cornerstone of ATS. These are the specific skills, qualifications, and job titles mentioned in the job description. Here’s how to incorporate them:

  • Analyse the Job Description: Highlight the key skills and requirements listed.
  • Incorporate Keywords Naturally: Ensure these keywords appear in your CV, particularly in sections like skills, experience, and education. However, avoid keyword stuffing; use them in a natural and relevant manner.


  1. Choose a Simple, Clean Format

ATS systems often struggle with complex formatting. To avoid issues:

  • Stick to Standard Fonts: Use fonts like Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman.
  • Avoid Graphics and Images: ATS can’t read images, so keep your CV text-based.
  • Use Standard Headings: Use common headings like “Work Experience,” “Education,” and “Skills” to help the ATS categorise your information.


  1. Optimize Your Work Experience

Clearly list your work experience in reverse chronological order. For each position:

  • Include Job Titles and Dates: ATS looks for specific job titles and the duration of each role.
  • Bullet Points: Use bullet points to describe your responsibilities and achievements. Start each bullet with a strong action verb.
  • Quantify Achievements: Where possible, use numbers to quantify your achievements (e.g., “Increased sales by 20%”).


  1. Customize Your CV for Each Application

Tailoring your CV for each job application is crucial:

  • Match Job Descriptions: Adjust your keywords and skills to match those in the job description.
  • Highlight Relevant Experience: Emphasize experience and skills that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for.


  1. Use Full Forms and Acronyms

ATS systems might search for both full forms and acronyms. For example, write “Search Engine Optimization (SEO)” instead of just “SEO.”

  1. Proofread and Edit

Ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors in your CV:

  • Consistency: Make sure your formatting is consistent throughout the document.
  • Readability: Ensure your CV is easy to read by both the ATS and human recruiters.


In the digital age of recruitment, understanding how ATS works and optimising your CV accordingly is essential. By using relevant keywords, keeping your format simple, and tailoring your CV for each application, you can significantly improve your chances of getting noticed. Remember, the goal is not just to beat the system but to present your qualifications in the best possible light.

Start refining your CV today, and make sure it works for you, not against you. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to landing your dream job.

Happy job hunting!