Marcus Taylor, managing partner at Taylor Sterling Associates, says résumé-reading robots could be one reason why job-hunters are failing to get interviews, and explains why CVs need a digital-friendly facelift.

For many people, the most disheartening element in any job search is the constant barrage of system-generated rejection letters.  These automated emails suggest that no one has actually made an effort to read your résumé. That is probably because they haven’t. Chances are, you were most likely rejected by a résumé-reading robot, otherwise known as an applicant tracking system (ATS). Welcome to the 21st century.

A number of large and even medium-sized companies are now using an ATS to deal with the overwhelming influx of applications they receive on a daily basis. This software allows companies to streamline and better manage their hiring process.

Although this tool might be very useful to hiring managers, it is bad news for many eager applicants. Studies have shown an ATS rejects up to 75% of the CVs it receives before any human eyes have even had the chance to see them.

Sifting through résumés to screen applicants is tedious work. An ATS creates shortlists from thousands of candidates on a recruiter’s database. If the ATS does not understand a CV, it will not select it.

This automated screening process helps recruiters and hiring managers turn an extensive applicant pool into a smaller and more focused group of applicants that can be reviewed more closely. In the age of résumé-reading robots, a well drafted, ATS-friendly résumé is absolutely critical to ensuring a successful job hunt.

The key to writing an ATS-friendly CV is to reseach keywords. Recruiters use keywords to pinpoint desirable candidates with the appropriate skills and qualifications. An ATS analyses a candidate’s CV and recognises any keywords used in the document. Most applicants have not yet realised that the words you use in your CV can actually make or break your job search.

Candidates can craft their CVs for their preferred roles by checking relevant job descriptions on employer websites and industry-specific recruitment portals.

Applicants can greatly benefit from noting down candidate specifications and keywords used in the industry in which they wish to work. This tactic will not guarantee you a job with your desired employer, but it might just put your CV ahead of thousands of others applying for the same role.

And it is not just about the language you use. An ATS can block a CV just because its format is not compatible with the system.

With the sheer volume of applicants in the Middle East, hiring managers and recruiters are looking for ways to make their jobs easier. The good news is that there are plenty of easy ways to boost the chances of getting your CV through an ATS. Who knows, you might even get a job from it.