how to write a cv

How To Write A CV That Gets Past The Applicant Tracking System

This blog post is for you if you’ve ever spent 45 minutes applying for a job and got nothing. Because we’re going to show you how to actually land coveted job interviews. And the secret to this lies in knowing how to write a CV that beats the ATS (Applicant Tracking System).

Applying For A Job

We know that you know the regular drill when applying for a job.

You enter every possible piece of personal information into the system; detail job assignments you had dating back at least a decade; tick all manner of boxes regarding things you agree to and waivers to sign; and finally, almost as an afterthought, asks for a cover letter and a resume.


Yet for all the questions you just answered, here is where your fate of moving on or going home is truly decided, because as many as 90 per cent of Fortune 500 companies are employing an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). And the ATS seeks out keywords in your CV to determine whether or not you should advance to the next stage of interviewing.

Imagining your entire chance of being interviewed coming down to a computer parsing your CV for certain words and phrases can quite frankly, be a bit frustrating and demeaning. However, if you’re willing to learn the rules of the game you can actually land more interviews.

This is why knowing how to write a CV is crucial to your chances of landing that job interview.

Playing The Hiring Game To Win

Think of the ATS as reverse-SEO. The company looking for clients inputs a list of words into the system that it values in terms of the position at hand. If the position is for an online news editor, then phrases like “editor”, “journalism”, “fast-paced”, “real-time” and “reporters” might all be important to the company. The more of these words or phrases appear in your CV or cover letter, the higher you will rank among candidates.

Websites like JobScan have carved out a niche of matching your resume’s keywords against those in the job description. However, this should be a task you can go alone if you do your homework.

For starters, ensure that actual name of the position appears somewhere in your attachments. If the job is an online news editor and your most recent three positions were working at car washes, you’ll be one of the first ones eliminated.

From there, carefully study the job listing for phrases that are unique to this job description. Things like ‘collaboration” and “communication” you can leave aside, those appear in every job description known to man.


Go after titles of specific software or processes used and work those back into your CV organically; write them as part of genuine sentences regarding yourself and your skillset. If you need more tips to beat the ATS then read this because Meredith Levison has got you covered.

Final Words: How To Write A CV And Beat The ATS

The old days of SEO keyword stuffing are gone. If you write “news editor” in every sentence on your CV, you aren’t anymore likely to get sent forward than someone who writes “I have been a news editor for the last eight months,” and then goes on to detail all of their experience in the field.

A Big Brother is now looking over your job submissions long before any human ever takes a peek. Ensure that your CV can speak the ATS’s language to give yourself the best shot of gaining its approval.