The Importance of CV formatting [INFOGRAPHIC]

By Colston Careers

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Beat the System

I will set the scene: You have found your dream job, you fill in the online application form, attach your CV and hit “Submit”.

2 Days goes by..Normal

5 Days goes by..”Why haven’t they got back to me?”

2 Weeks go by..”Ok this is ridiculous, I will ring them”

The HR chick insists they never received your CV and the role has now been filled.

Unknown to many job seekers is that 72% of CVs never actually get through to the recruiter. This is because of a method of screening CVs called ATS (Applicant Tracking System).

This system parses the incoming CVs and extracts pieces of information from them, such as Skills, contact info, education and work experience etc. This information is then sent to an internal database where it is accessed every time a recruiter searches for a particular job role. When a recruiter searches for a job role, you are scored based on matches to that role from your CV data, and then top matches are then returned to the recruiter.

So how do you make sure your CV gets viewed? Pimp it out with these simple tips:

  • Use the right fonts – Stick to web safe fonts, such as Georgia, Arial, Impact and Trebuchet (remember Trebuchet from our Job Seekers eGuide?)]
  • Use a word format – DO NOT upload your CV in PDF format, upload it in a word (.docx or .doc) format. The parser cannot identify PDF elements, and if a recruiter has to format your CV before they send it to a potential employer they will not be able to edit it.
  • Use the same words as the job description – Look through the job spec and identify key words that the advert uses. Such words as key skills, qualities, education and jargon from that field. This will help get you scored higher as the system will be looking for these words.
  • Spellchecker is your ally - Make sure there are no spelling mistakes! The ATS will not pick up words that are misspelled, therefore hindering your chances.
  • Do not use the header and footer for important info - Always include your important contact information at the top of your CV, but don’t use the header or footer, the parser will not be able to distinguish this information.
  • Do your Research – Bulk up your skills section with industry buzz words and jargon, this is exactly what will get you matched.
  • DO NOT be sneaky – Many candidates think that including hundreds of keywords in a white font colour will trick the ATS and get them ranked higher. This used to be the case, but not anymore. The ATS is checking for these and your CV will instantly be discarded. Even if it makes it through, recruiters do regular checks on this and will instantly disregard your CV if it is found. More info here.
  • Avoid Images - Avoid including images, the parser cannot identify images and it will not rank your CV. If you have an Infographic CV prepared, unless you know it will go straight through and not through the ATS, send it separately either by email or the extra file upload facility on some job boards.
  • Tailor each CV to the job role you are applying to - Do not send blanket emails out, each role has keywords and pattern matching algorithms that will not match a CV that doesn’t match to the role at hand.


Hopefully these simple methods will increase the amount of human eyes that see your CV and bring you closer to that dream role.

About the company

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Our team of managers are a team that assists our partners improve their digital presence by producing online marketing services on a regular basis. Our service is transparent and economical, which ensures that you get a great service and results that make a difference when you utilise our services. We arrange many different marketing services for enterprises from small businesses to large corporations to help make the most of of your company's social media marketing.

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