Four tips for getting your CV past an AI reader

Many employers use artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline CV screening and reduce bias in the application process. So to land an interview, your CV needs to promote your qualifications, achievements and experience in terms an AI bot can understand. The tips below unlock the secrets of how to speak to that AI bot and get to the next phase of the hiring process.

  1. Focus on keyword optimisation

AI turns your resume into plain text. It then scans the text to identify keywords that match its search criteria. Since recruiters typically use job description wording to filter applications, you should edit your CV to mimic the language used in the job description. And, yes, dear job hunter, that means tailoring your CV for every role you apply for. Ideally.

Choose a handful of keywords in the job description to weave into your CV in a natural way. Consider the soft skills named – such as people management, communication and collaboration – as well as the areas of expertise mentioned. Use each keyword two to three times and ensure the language flows well. If you over-use them, your text will jar and the AI police will spot it!

Adding a summary – a brief statement at the top of your resume highlighting your expertise, experience, skills and achievements – is an easy way for you to incorporate keywords for each position you apply for.

  1. Use standard formatting

Most AI bots get confused by fancy fonts, logos, images, tables, charts, columns, headers and footers. They just can’t read them. So keep formatting plain and, unless requested to do so otherwise, opt for a Word document.

  1. Stick to standard CV section headings

AI bots have been programmed to look for standard section headers such as ‘Work experience’, ‘Technical skills’ and ‘Education’. So avoid unconventional equivalents like ‘What motivates me.’

  1. Check how it looks with plain text

Since AI turns your CV into plain text, you should check that all your information aligns correctly and that the order still makes sense in this format. Your work experience should appear in reverse chronological order. You can test this out using free ATS scans such as those provided by ZipJob.

While these tips focus on how to get past AI bots, the language still needs to flow naturally. So write for a person. If successful, your CV will next be seen by the hiring manager and you’ll need to impress them. If you don’t hear back from anyone, feel free to follow up with a well-written email with your CV attached, just in case.

To further explore this topic, please read a fascinating article published by Forbes here. Or get in touch with your trusted recruitment partners at ABL. We’ve been helping the nation match their experience and desires to job opportunities for over 30 years. Whatever CV scanning technology delivers, we know how to make your application shine and connect you to great opportunities with 400+ leading companies worldwide. Please get in touch!