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How to Tailor Your Application to Beat Filter Bots

Jill Wells
For Candidates

As online recruitment becomes increasingly popular for employers, many companies are turning to sophisticated software to find the best candidates in less time.

Applicant tracking systems – software that records applicant information and filters applications by scanning keywords and phrases – are now widely used among employers. For companies that routinely receive hundreds or even thousands of applications for a single advert, an applicant tracking system (ATS) can be the answer to the laborious task of shortlisting.

For job candidates, however, the ATS can be a nightmare – all that time spent on your application is wasted if it is simply discarded by a filter bot without ever being seen by a recruiter. So how can you give yourself a better chance of getting onto a shortlist? Here’s how to tailor your application and beat the filter bots.

Use the position description form to tailor your application

A generic job application will not help you get to the interview stage. Each job application should be individually written to suit the job you are applying for. Most job adverts will give you an outline of the position, or the advert will include a position description form, both of which can be used to pick out the relevant keywords and phrases you will need to include in your resume in order to be noticed by the bots.

Research the company and role

A bit of research into the company and role you are applying for can go a long way towards beating the filters. It may help to call the contact person noted on the advert and ask them if there are any specific things you should know about the role. This information could give you a better understanding of the keywords and phrases to include in your application.

Focus on recent, relevant roles

Your CV should be written in chronological order with the most recent experience at the top, and you should focus on the roles and experience that are most relevant to the position you are applying for. This will make it easier for an ATS to recognise relevant experience and career advancement.

Double-check your job application

Lastly, a good quality CV will be free of simple errors such as spelling mistakes, so be sure to thoroughly check over your CV. An ATS may miss a keyword or phrase if it is spelt incorrectly.

It’s also important to remember that a human eye will still be looking over your CV at some point. Although an ATS may not pick up poor punctuation or numerous changes in fonts throughout your application, a recruiter can.

Recruiters may also forgive the odd mistake, but a CV riddled with simple errors is going to set off alarms bells about your lack of attention to detail.

The ATS is designed to help companies with their recruiting process, but applicants need to be savvy to get past them and get their application onto a shortlist. Follow these steps and you could be on your way to beating the filter bots.

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