Will Your CV Qualify the ATS Stage?

An applicant tracking system (ATS) scans each CV and application for certain keywords and phrases relevant to the job vacancy and scores each of them with a relevancy percentage, the top results are then passed onto the Recruiter/employer for them to review. The use of an ATS means that most CVs and applications are eliminated without human review.


Keeping it simple is key. Choosing a standard font and layout is the best approach. Using fancy fonts, logos and borders can sometimes cause your CV to be rejected as not all systems can read or scan them.
In terms of content, the main sections you should focus on including are: experience, qualifications, education and skills.
When applying online or sending your CV over to a recruiter, send it over in PDF or Microsoft Word format. These formats are compatible with most computers and ATS.

No Introduction

An introductory section at the start of your CV is not necessary when applying for a position online. The system is looking for certain keywords and phrases that are mentioned in the job vacancy, so as long as these are clearly mentioned throughout your CV, this will be picked up. Instead, you could include a few bullet points with the relevant skills, experience, or qualifications that the role requires.


To optimise your CV, be sure to include key words and phrases that are in the job description. This is what the system is going to scan and pick up from you CV, this makes the match between you and the position and what will get your CV shortlisted to the next stage. If you have all of the relevant skills and experience, be sure to include as many of the keywords from the advert, in your application. Different professions have certain jargon and phrases, and many skills could have multiple ways of phrasing them, ensure yours matches whatever is included in the description. For example, if there is an advert for a Level 2 Nursery Nurse, it might be a good idea for you to match the way it has been written as opposed to writing it as “Level II” or “Level two”.

Grammar Check

Spelling and grammar errors will make your CV unreadable and possibly get rejected by the ATS. Run a spell check over your CV before applying. Read your CV out loud or have someone proof read will also allow lengthy sentences to be identified.