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10 Tips to a Smart CV

cv Jun 07, 2021
Tips to a Smart CV

Work on your CV by optimizing it for ATS screening and be ready for the reality of the fourth industrial revolution that can’t be ignored.  Overview of the automation used in recruiting processes and how to customize your CV to pass that phase with these 10 tips to get a Smart CV.

Two years ago I edited my CV to start my job search in Italy. I was ready to re-enter the market after an international move and a sabbatical period. The first thing I did was reducing the size of my CV, which contained 4 boring pages. I googled for free tips that could help me rebuild my CV and found one that changed the way I thought about my CV.


In my mind, I had the wrong idea that my CV should contain all my work experience, regardless of how many they were and how much time had passed since the first to the last experience. I thought I had to reflect all my work contracts in 2 pages. And that was what I first tried, summarizing my 4-page CV into a 2-page one.


I confess I didn’t enjoy the outcome. I felt like I had so much more to show. I suppressed 10 years of working experience and felt really bad for it. But the argument for not having older than 15 years of experience in my CV was more convincing. The argument was the simple fact that a recruiter would probably not be interested in such a far past, nor would have time to read a 4-detailed-page CV. I mean, those simple facts are reasonable enough. But there was something more I was unaware of by that time: how robots would screen my CV.


I didn’t know much about recruiting processes. What I knew was that I was able to attract jobs wherever and whenever I wanted. And that had nothing to do with wee-wee practices. I’ve always liked to study and apply everything I learned into practice. That’s how I built a solid work reputation in Controlling and Finance. I was good at learning fast and delivering great results to my employers. Being a job magnet came from the fact that I have a great ability to sell myself to decision-makers and publicly on LinkedIn. My profile has attracted dozens of headhunters who called me for job interviews.


But again, I knew nothing about robots, right? Getting back to my story, I applied on-line with my new CV. Looked for a beautiful template, with photo, sections brakes, icons and everything else I tell my clients nowadays to never use. I applied for a job that I had 100% of the requirements. I mean, I was definitely getting a phone call. But that never happened.


After 3 weeks, I thought something might have been really wrong with my CV. I forgot that fancy template and went for the old text-only style. Another job post came from the same company and it was again a perfect match for me. This time I was called less than a week after I applied.


I was really curious to understand why I got a call on the second try with my not-fancy CV. I started researching on-line about job application processes, but from the hiring company perspective, and found precious information. I learned about HRIS and ATS, Human Resources Information Systems, and Application Tracking Systems. 


This is what I want to share with you in this article. An overview of the automation used in recruiting processes and how to customize your CV to pass that phase.


Let’s conceptualize an HRIS. HR is a big field and there are several areas that form a Human Resources department, such as Learning & Development, Payroll, Recruiting & Talent Acquisition, Benefits, Labor Relations, and many others. Large corporations have all of those areas, they can be outsourced or with full-time employees. Automation in HR is not something new, it’s been around for some decades already. That's what an HRIS does - it serves the HR area in terms of task automation and data organization. But what has been changed rapidly?


Think that algorithms and automation replace repetitive and low-value work for corporations. when it comes to recruiting, it’s not difficult to imagine how repetitive it is for a person to daily open hundreds of CVs for scan reading. This is where the ATS serves at its best.


The ATS facilitates the recruiter’s life in terms of time consumption and assertiveness. ATS is an algorithm or a set of them that extract data from files and organize them as information in tables. It is much easier for a human eye to read harmonized tables, instead of looking for information by opening one CV at a time. That’s what an ATS does, it organizes and harmonizes data.


What is the issue then with the ATS? Well, you can imagine that there are several ATS options in the world. And there are some that eventually run with some machine learningand artificial intelligence in the background. It means that it can do beyond data organization and harmonization. It can be trained to look up for measurable results, keywords, infer age, and genre, and also suggest to the recruiter if a CV should be excluded from that specific recruiting process. All of this is done in seconds.


95% of the Fortune100 companies use ATS for CV screening. It is a reality of the fourth industrial revolution that can’t be ignored. Instead of feeling frustrated about it, work on your CV by optimizing it for ATS screening. I promise it’s not that hard.


Check out my tips:


  1. Leave it in DOCX format, no PDF, and absolutely no photos, tables, diagrams, or complex formatting. There’s a greater chance of the information getting truncated once extracted.
  2. It must be a one-page CV if you have less than 10 years of experience and up to two pages if you have 10- 20 years of experience. More than 20 years requires a more detailed analysis.
  3. Professionals with 15+ years of experience should cut off older experiences. The correct cutting off point must be considered between the professional and the career coach, as it depends on many factors. In general, make evident only the last 10 years’ experiences.
  4. The professional goal must be well defined and matching the job post headline
  5. The summary must be concise, intelligent, and short. 
  6. The use of smart keywords is crucial. 
  7. Professional achievements and results must be very well written and highlighted. Use numbers to show your measurable results instead of listing tasks.
  8. No need to add your birthdate, street address, or any personal information other than your name, mobile, e-mail, LinkedIn URL, and location.
  9. Never use a footer or header for adding information.
  10. To check what will be extracted from your CV, transform it into a PDF, then select all, copy and paste it on a notepad. This is how your CV will look like after the data extraction.


I really hope you apply those tips to your CV. I know it can take some hours, but it is much better to have a CV in place right now that you don’t need it than to leave it as it is.

In my free Smart CV Builder, you will find more tips and information about how to use technology to build a better CV that actually sells you and not only works as your work experience listed in boring pages. Visit register your e-mail to my list, and download it as many times you want.

Let’s rock!




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