How Automated Recruitment Tools Have Changed the Way We Write CVs Forever (infographic)

First impressions count, especially in today's super-competitive job markets. So knowing how to craft the perfect CV is one of the best ways to give yourself that all important edge.

So how do you write a stand-out CV? And how has the adoption of digital recruitment tools changed the way companies assess candidates? CV builder has got you covered. It recently put together a complete guide on how to write a job-winning CV in the digital age.

Read on to uncover the secrets of landing an interview for your dream job.

Writing a CV in the digital age

You've probably never heard of an Applicant Tracking System (ATS.) But if you're in the middle of a job hunt, then there's an ATS out that's probably very familiar with you. It might know your name, address, contact details, employment history, degree of education, and a few of your hobbies. It could even know what you look like.

That's because these automated tracking systems are the first barrier candidates have to overcome before their CV is seen by a pair of human eyes. An ATS is a piece of software programmed to spot keywords and phrases that single out suitable applicants. Around 43% of employers now use some form of AST during the initial recruitment phase. Another 15% are planning to implement an ATS or a similar system within the next 12-24 months.

Writing a CV in the digital age

From an employer's perspective, an ATS is a valuable and cost-effective tool for saving time and money on recruitment. In fact, 78% of employers want their ATS to do more, including notifying unsuccessful candidates and arranging interviews for those who make the cut.

If you're a job applicant, understanding how an ATS screens CVs is an essential part of securing an interview with a 'real' recruiter. Most ATS systems rank candidates according to their suitability for the advertised role. And the secret to coming out at the top of the list is all in the Keywords. You can find these in the actual job description. These words won't be highlighted. But with enough practice, you'll be able to spot them straight away.

Some top tips for finding keywords include reading multiple job descriptions for similar roles. Then simply pick out the recurring words and phrases. Or you could use a keyword radar tool, such as Google Keyword Finder or SEMRush. Just copy and paste the job description into the finder, then let it do all the hard work for you.

Then start working these keywords into your CV. But avoid stuffing them into your text. ATS's are programmed to spot inorganic content. What's more, your end goal is to get a human to read your CV. And they won't appreciate a CV that sounds dull and repetitive.

The essential elements of a killer CV

Today's applicants need to be tech and keyword savvy when writing their CVs. However, it's important to remember (and master) the more traditional elements of crafting a compelling CV.

All good CVs start with your contact and personal information, such as name, email address, phone number, and relevant social media accounts. Put your name at the very top in a larger and bolder font, and always use a professional-sounding email address.

Now it's time to write a summary. This is the first chance to really sell yourself. So do it, and do it quickly. Recruiters - human or otherwise - have little time for waffle or filler. Always lead with your strongest and most relevant qualities.

Most CV specialists advise on including an accomplishments and skills section next. List all your achievements and skills in bullet points. Keep them concise and super-specific. And back everything up with hard data, using active words like achieved, designed, and established. Don't say that you're an experienced salesperson; prove it!

Employment history is the longest and most important section. It's like the backbone of your CV. Unless requested, you don't need to include every job you've ever worked. So be selective, focusing on the roles most relevant to your application. Start with your current (or most recent) position and then work backward through the last 3-5 years of your working life. And don't stress over any work-history gaps. A survey by Harvard Business Review found that 87% of hiring managers are not particularly concerned with employment gaps.

If you're a recent graduate applying for an entry-level position, put the education section before your employment history. Otherwise, include it afterward. In both cases, use reverse chronological order, giving a brief summary of where and when you studied.

Hobbies and interests is usually the last section. You don't have to include it, but it's worth adding if your personal interests intersect with your professional ambitions. For example, talking about how your play in a folk band is relevant if you're applying for a job in the music industry. It's less so when you're sending your CV to an investment bank.

Top tips for writing a successful CV

When it comes to selecting a font type and size, keep things simple and consistent. Size 10 to 12 is ideal, and opt for easy-to-read, familiar fonts like Times New Roman or Arial.

In addition to adding all those critical keywords for any AST system, make sure your CV is skimmable for human eyes. Use bullet points and short sentences packed with meaningful language and real-world examples.

Tailor your details and experience sections to each separate job application. You can do this by creating a standardized CV which can then be adjusted accordingly.

And when it comes to sending your CV, a PDF is always the better option. It will ensure all your formatting choices remain consistent when recruiters open up the document.

Lastly, be cautious about using emojis or overly expressive punctuation, like exclamation marks. They can signal a lack of professionalism, meaning recruiters may not see you as a serious candidate. CVs are about getting a foot in your door. Save your personality for the interview.

ATS systems have changed the game for job applicants. But while including the right keywords is super-important, don't forget that the final decision is still in human hands - or at least for now. So add those keywords, but don't focus on them too much. Think of them as a little bit of seasoning to give your CV that finishing touch.
Gone are the days of printing off and hand-delivering your resume. And with today's employment landscape becoming more virtual, prospective job applicants are not only competing with each other but they also must go against automated Applicant Tracking Systems that employers put in place to quickly sift through resumes. So how do you make your resume stand out in the crowd? This new guide from shows how to write the perfect resume and provides 9 rules to follow to ensure your resume is successful in today's digital world:
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