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Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is changing the face of recruitment. Many companies now use applicant tracking systems (ATS)software as an automated means of filtering through job applications and CV’s long before they are ever seen by a real person.
Recent research suggests that only around 25% of CV’s make it past the robots, who automatically reject the other 75%, with a huge 95% of fortune 500 companies now adopting this technology to determine who makes the cut and is then allowed to advance to human interaction.
There are obviously massive advantages for businesses from a time and cost saving perspective, especially in large organisations where hundreds or even thousands of people are applying for the same jobs, such as at accountancy firm, PwC, who receive approximately 50,000 applications for their 1,200 graduate roles per year.
However, the technology is still relatively new and the initial criteria to inform the AI is set by humans so it is certainly not failsafe and it is still open to bias and errors. Sometimes, purely through the way the system has been created, a good candidate can be ‘filtered out’ before they have the chance to show what they can really do, creating a lose-lose situation for both the applicant, who won’t progress to interview, and the employer who could miss out on recruiting some top talent to their team.
This is where tailoring your CV to get past the robots can help get you in front of a real person and move you forward in the interview process.
Here we aim to provide some tips which can help ‘beat the bots’:
Use Keywords – In much the same way as search engines use the terms you type in to match with the listings they return, AI robots generally use keywords as a way to distinguish between suitable and unsuitable CV’s. To ensure you are using the correct sort of keywords on your CV, utilise the job description and candidate specification for the role to which you are applying, to identify the skills and knowledge keywords which your potential employer uses. You can then make sure that you use these same words on your CV where relevant and authentic. Be mindful not to clutter your document with hundreds of keywords however, as this can also be detected by the technology and will flag your application as suspicious. A good balance is to incorporate a few keywords throughout your recent work history. If you are applying for several positions, you may need to tailor your CV for each application in order to improve your chances of getting the best results.
Keep it Simple – Use standard job titles that are commonly recognised. Even if you had an unusual job title at a previous company, if it aligns to a more well-known position then use that instead as AI is likely to be programmed to recognise commonly used titles to match to the required criteria. Another tip for keeping things straightforward is to avoid images, graphics, logos and unusual formatting. Also, it’s advisable not to put information in headers or footers. Robots are very unlikely to be able to pickup any information that isn’t in plain text, meaning that some of the important details you want to convey could be missed if the AI can’t read it.
Include SMART Information – Fluffy phrases like ‘good team player’ or ‘strong organisational skills’ may be something you want to talk about at interview but to beat the bots, you will need to focus on tangible, measurable results, such as how many people you managed, what size budget you were responsible for or how much you increased profits etc. Quantifiable data is easy for AI robots to read and will be the sort of criteria that is used for filtering out unsuitable applications. It is also good practise to use this sort of information on your CV even if a real person will be reading it, assaying that you are ‘good with people’ or other similar ‘soft’ phrases are only opinion and cannot be proved or benchmarked against other candidate’s abilities when deciding who gets through to the interview stage.
Avoid Jargon – try to avoid industry jargon which may have been exclusive to your previous company or sector, instead explain what you want to say in plain language. If you need to include an acronym – for instance for a qualification, you may want to consider using both the letters and the full words as the AI may have been programmed to recognise one or the other. Again, this can be a good idea for any application as many recruiters may also not be familiar with some terminology.
These small changes can all make the difference between moving on to the next stage of the process and being rejected before your CV reaches a real person, and, whether the reader is human or virtual, you can read more about creating a good CV in another of our blogs on the subject, The Secret to A Good CV, which has further universal tips which can help get your CV noticed and not end up in the reject pile.
If you need help to identify your strengths and skills or perhaps you are feeling at a loss as to the direction you would like your career to take, contact Careers in Depth today. Our expert career coaches can help you to unlock your potential and make a move towards the career you have always wanted.
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