An Applicant Tracking System, or ATS, is a software application that helps to handle the recruitment process for companies that are hiring. While typically used by larger companies, more and more smaller organisations are taking advantage of ATS software, because it makes short work of sorting through all of the resumes submitted to the company. The ATS scans CVs for keywords to help determine which candidates are the best fit for the positions for which they were sent.

How Does an Applicant Tracking System work?

When a human recruiter looks at your CV, he or she will be scanning it for grounds to dismiss your application, such as spelling errors or lack of relevant skills. The candidates left at the end of the process will progress to the next step. An ATS, on the other hand, scans CVs for specific keywords that mean a candidate has the relevant skills. A human recruiter may then work from a smaller pile of applications to dismiss still more that exhibit the spelling or grammar errors mentioned above.

Without an ATS, recruiters need to spend more time working with files, shredding papers, and moving or deleting emails. This type of software also makes it much easier for recruiters to keep track of all applicants – there is no risk of the accidental loss of a particular CV, as the system automatically files and backs up all data. Moreover, even if your application may not have been considered for one position, the ATS will have your information on file and may select you for an interview on a different job.

Tips to Optimise your CV for ATS

1: Use the Right Keywords

Some ATS programs can even use social media to seek out potential applicants. However, whether you submit your CV or are “headhunted” by an ATS, it always works on employer-specified keywords. So the more relevant keywords your application or online profile includes, the more highly ranked your results will be, and the sooner you’ll get the call to move forward in the hiring process.

2: Include the keywords to your social media accounts.

Much like the process of search engine optimisation, or SEO, that helps makes web content visible and highly ranked by search engines, ATS software relies on keywords to locate the best candidates. Therefore, when crafting your CV and online profile, you’ll need to predict the keywords that employers in your industry will be searching for. This can be a bit tricky, but an excellent place to start is thorough research into the companies to which you want to apply.

Hiring a professional CV writer in New Zealand also helps. A professional CV writer knows exactly which keywords recruiters and hiring managers to use in an Applicant Tracking System to look for a candidate for a particular position.

3: Do your research.

Review their website and all available marketing materials, making a note of certain buzzwords that appear frequently. Check out the LinkedIn page for the company and for its employees, to see what keywords are used by people who already work there. Then, rely upon your industry expertise to make a list of all the ways your particular position could be described. Remember that recruiters will be searching for phrases such as “Management,” “Human Resources,” and “Accounting,” far more than they will look for keywords like “outgoing” or “hard worker.” So keep the fluff language to a minimum to make room for the words that really will get you noticed by an ATS.

Follow these tips, and the chances are good that your CV will land in the interview pile.