CVs for ATS or 10 lines that can change your life!

For obvious reasons – time and money savings – more and more companies switch to automated CV processing and candidate ranking – the so-called ATS – Applicant Tracking Systems where everything is one place. But not only that, according to [in the US] “some AI tools have reported a 20-100% increase in gender, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity of hires.” That also applies to recruitment processes for experienced managers and executives!

Currently, the most commonly used ATS within the Fortune 500 companies are: Taleo, Workday, SAP SuccessFactors, IBM Kenexa BrassRing, ICIMS, ADP (Source:

How do you know which ATS is being used? Look at the link of the database of the job ad you are uploading your CV to; it could read “….” published the following stats recently:

  • 95% of large organizations use ATS as part of their recruitment process
  • Big companies receive about 50,000 to 75,000 resumes each week
  • 75% of resumes will never be seen by human eyes

Let us repeat this: 75% of resumes that go through ATS will never be seen by human eyes.

Why is that? For 2 reasons:

1) Wrong format
The majority of CVs, especially CV templates and those which have two or more columns and many graphical elements often can’t be interpreted by the software. Consequently, the CV content doesn’t get a chance to be fully assessed.

2) Mismatched content
The content of the CV is not tailored to the job description the candidate is applying to. You have to imagine that one of the main functions of an ATS is to compare CVs against job descriptions. It searched for (more or less) exact key words – that means that if the job description reads “experience in recruitment”, but your CV uses the form “recruiting”, you might not get matched.

Here the solution (and checklist) forwrong format”:

  • Chronological CV
  • No spaces in the telephone number, e.g. +43676000000
  • Address: postal code + city, country
  • No active hyperlinks
  • No spelling mistakes
  • No header and footer
  • No tables
  • Traditional font and size
  • Only standard bullets

Word of caution: these tricks used to work, but don’t anymore: use additional text / key words in white font, repeat key words at the end of the CV, copy/paste the job ad into the CV; Instead: add key words throughout the CV and make sure you have a competency / areas of expertise section.

As to themistmatchedcontent: use which will help you fine-tune your CV. Important: you get (only) 5 free scans per month! Use them wisely and introduce all suggestions – as long as they are true and don’t misrepresent you!

Case: a client wanted to apply to a job ad with one of their top employers. From a recruiter’s perspective, she did seem to be an ideal candidate. Running it through JobScan who bases their technology on the most common ATS Taleo, our client’s document was assessed at only 26% match; meaning, that she would never be recommended to be seen by a human being for further consideration. By adding 10 additional lines strategically throughout the CV, we achieved an 85% match. 10 lines that make a huge difference!

Are you an experienced manager or executive who’s actively or passively looking for a job? Would you like to discuss your CV for both humans and ATS during a confidential and complimentary consultation via Skype? Get in touch by email: Bichl.Sandra (at) or click on this link!