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Resume template - how to optimize for algorithms

Developments in digital technology, such as algorithms, have drastically changed the selection and recruitment processes of many organisations. With that in mind, the resume template and tips below allow you to adjust your CV accordingly.

You can use the following five tips to make your CV ‘algorithm proof’:

Why should you optimize your resume template?

What many job seekers might not know, is that more than half of all applications are rejected before they are even reviewed by a person.

This is because of systems known as Applicant Tracking System (ATS). These systems are developed for large organizations to streamline their recruitment processes, which allows them to better process a large amount of applications.

An important aspect of ATS is ‘CV parsing’. CV parsing software ensures the automatic processing of data from a CV.  The software uses a preliminary scan to analyze a candidate’s skill, education and experience. In order to make it through this initial scan, it is important to optimize your CV. 

Tips to optimize your resume

By parsing, the data obtained from a resume is directly translated to a structured candidate profile in the recruitment system. This way the recruiter immediately has access to a large amount of information regarding the candidate. An ATS preliminary scans a candidate’s minimal skills, education and experience. Therefore it is important to emphasize these criteria in your CV.

Resume template tip 1: conduct research regarding keywords

Find and analyze multiple job descriptions for similar positions and take a look at how the different job titles are being used. These titles are the most relevant keywords within your CV.

Additionally, the field in which you work and the systems you will work with are relevant in relation to the algorithm. Conduct research regarding various company fields, organizations and vacancy websites in order to create an overview of the key words you should incorporate into your resume.

When doing this, do not forget to add synonyms for these key terms in order to enhance the final result.

Resume template tip 2: use recognizable job titles in your CV

Ask yourself if your job title is recognizable enough to others. Job titles differ per organization, so it is necessary to find out what your role is called at other organizations. You do not necessarily have to use your current job title, but make sure to use a title that is known and used within your company industry. Listing various synonyms can aid in this process.

Resume template tip 3: make best practices and experiences tangible

It is important to make sure the essential skills in relation to a position are apparent. In order to achieve this, it is critical to operationalize your best practices. An ATS searches for tangible results and penalizes vague descriptions. Commonly used terms such as ‘Team Player’ and ‘innovative’ may describe you well from a professional point of view, but do not provide much concrete information.

Under ‘work experience’, try to make a selection of the five best and relevant business activities per job. Describe these activities concretely, so that it becomes clear to recruiters (and an ATS) that you possess the right experience required for the tasks at hand. Once again, finding and using synonyms for these activities can increase your algorithm value.

Resume template tip 4: add a personal statement to your CV

Gain a recruiter’s attention by adding a personal statement (elevator pitch). In around 50 to 150 words, describe who you are, what differentiates you from others, why you are the perfect fit for the vacancy and what you see as the next step in career.
Implement ‘active sentences’ into your resume and make sure to mention the previously mentioned keywords.

Resume template tip 5: pay attention to the file format of your CV

An ATS is unable to read every single file format. In some vacancies, there is an explicit request that the CV is a Word file, in others a PDF format is requested. You have to comply with these guidelines, otherwise there is a chance that your CV is not processed correctly or not processed at all by the ATS.

Do you use a PDF format for you CV?
Keep in mind that algorithms cannot process images

Do you incorporate visual elements into your CV? Make sure those elements are readable. Moreover, you should use a design that has a professional and clean layout. A creative layout may look nicer, but potentially has a harder time getting processed by an ATS. Finally, refrain from posting important information in the header or the footnote of the document

Are you looking for a new job?

Of course you would like your motivation letter and CV to stand out from the crowd. In order to achieve this goal you should optimize your resume - using the tips provided in this article - to adhere to the existing algorithm. Take your time, carefully choose the right keywords to apply in your CV, make your best practices tangible and do not forget about the practical aspects. In short, make your resume algorithm proof and get one stop closer to your ideal job!

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