How to get your CV past the Applicant Tracking Systems

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Did you know that nearly all major companies use some form of applicant tracking system (ATS) to handle job applications and to manage CV data and that they include the ability automate the recruitment process?

And you thought you’d spent all that time working on your CV to impress a recruiter!

Worse still, the majority of ATS are flawed so if your CV does not include all the right keywords and phrases it will become part of the 75% of CVs which are effectively “binned” by the ATS as not being seen to “match” the job requirements, no matter how qualified or experienced you are for the position!

This is why you have to know how to get your CV past the ATS so that you can get an interview.

By now you may be wondering why companies even use these systems if they are flawed and reject potentially good candidates. The answer is that they make life easier for recruiters by significantly narrowing down the number of candidates; no matter how many good candidates are lost along the way.

Here are my top tips to get your CV past the ATS:

  1. Unless the application procedure states that you should upload your CV as a pdf, don’t!  The vast majority of ATSs struggle to read a pdf format.
  2. I’m not a fan of diagrams and graphics on CVs at the best of times and as ATSs can’t read them anyway, I suggest that you don’t include any on your CV. If you really want to include graphics, make sure that you also use text to explain the information that the graphics convey.
  3. ATSs don’t care how long your CV is so if you have a lot of relevant work experience it is worth including it to ensure that all the key points are picked up; but don’t go overboard with length just make sure to get all the key words in.
  4. Always start your work experience with the name of the company and the position and then the dates. This is something that I encourage clients to do anyway but it is even more important if there is a chance that your CV is going to be screened  byan ATS because these systems always look for company names first.

In addition, produced this great graphic to help you get your CV past the Applicant Tracking Systems.

If you would like help creating a CV that gets you interviews, email your current CV to and I’ll let you know how I can help.



© Anne Galloway

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Anne Galloway is the Careers Consultant for those who want to put the fun and passion back into their working week. Find out how Anne can help you along your path to career success at



I am a Certified Advanced Resume Writer, Employment Interview Consultant, and Career Coach and it is my aim to help ambitious and motivated people like you become fully empowered to get the job you want.