How to Optimise Your CV for ATS

Another great guest post from Margaret Buj - London-based Interview Coach and Talent Acquisition Manager with international recruitment experience. Since 2006, Margaret has helped thousands of people around the world get hired, promoted and paid more.


Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) can often been seen as a blackhole for many job seekers and of course your CV needs to be optimised to ensure your success. Here are a few rules to follow to ensure your CV gets into the hands of a recruiter in 2021.


  1. Use the right keywords on page 1 of your CV and tailor your CV for each application, but make sure you substantiate with accomplishments.

  2. Grab the attention of the recruiter quickly - typically within 10 seconds. Use a clear layout and sections, including summary, skills and accomplishments (use bullet points). Make sure you quantify with metrics to demonstrate your value.

  3. Use a word format rather than PDF. PDF formatting often goes wrong in ATS.

  4. Use grammarly to ensure your spelling and grammar are correct.


Margaret was recently listed as a Top Career Influencer to follow and her interview advice has been featured in Cosmopolitan magazine, Financial Times, Management Today, LiveCareer.com; Totaljobs.com and Work It Daily. Margaret has spoken at career events and conferences and she has delivered training sessions and workshops in London, Monaco, Athens and Saudi Arabia.


Bigger Fish fully agree with Margaret's advise on how to optimise CVs for applicant tracking systems (ATS). You can connect with Margaret Buj on LinkedIn here.

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