If you have been looking for advice on crafting the perfect CV, it’s likely you will have seen numerous articles warning you about the perils of ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) and why it’s imperative that your CV is optimised for them.
Articles with titles like these…
How to get your CV past the ATS robots
How to write an ATS friendly CV
How to ensure your CV is seen by a human
And so on.
Whilst applicant tracking systems do play an important role in modern recruitment, these kinds of articles over-hype their importance somewhat.
And in fact, focusing your efforts on “getting past the recruitment robots” when writing your CV, can actually be detrimental to creating a document that will impress real people.
What is ATS?
ATS stands for applicant tracking system.
It is simply software which allows companies to track applicants who apply for their vacancies and store their CV in a database which can be filtered and searched.
These systems are mostly used by larger companies and recruitment agencies who deal with high volumes of recruitment.
Most small businesses do not need or use ATS, meaning that around 60% of job applications will never even come into contact with one of these systems.
However, it is still highly likely that your CV will pass through an ATS at some point in your job search.
But the way in which it does so, is what most people have misunderstood.
The biggest myth about ATS
The biggest myth about ATS is that it filters out candidates which it deems unsuitable and deletes them automatically before they are ever seen by a human eye.
This myth has subsequently led to a myriad of anti-ATS articles being written across the web, and job seekers becoming terrified that every job vacancy is guarded by a team of overzealous robot overlords.
However, this is not the function or purpose of applicant tracking systems. They are designed to store and track candidate information – not destroy it.
So, where do your applications go?
Whenever you make an application via a job website, your CV will always be delivered into the inbox of the recruiter. If the company use an ATS, then your details and CV will also be passed into its database, but your CV and cover note will always be accessible by a real person.
A good recruiter will always review every CV that is sent to them (even if only for a few seconds in some cases) and they will then use their ATS as a supplementary tool for tasks like:
· Generating lists of suitable candidates based on keywords
· Updating and tracking the process of applications and sharing with colleagues
· Sending communications to multiple candidates, such as interview requests or rejection notifications
Recruiters and hiring managers are acutely aware of the limitations of ATS, which is why