How to optimise your CV for the algorithms

Author: Jane McNeill, Director, Hays Australia

Next time you apply for a job, will people or algorithms screen your application? Chances are, it’ll be the latter, with technological advancements reducing the time to hire. After all, one job ad can elicit hundreds of responses, many of which may be inappropriate, yet all must be screened in order to identify the suitable candidates.

With the aid of artificial intelligence (AI) and automated machine learning algorithms, this time consuming process can instead take seconds, allowing recruiters and hiring managers to provide a more personal service and engage with skilled and experienced professionals.

So how can you ensure your application makes it past the algorithms and reaches their shortlist?

Identify the hard skills

Firstly, you’ll need to add keywords to your CV and online professional profiles which are relevant to the jobs you apply for. Look at job descriptions for your ideal role so you can determine what these keywords are, and where they can be incorporated. For example you may include “project management”, “governance”, “efficiencies”, “health and safety”, “financial reporting” or “budget management” under your responsibilities.

Look for the soft skills

Don’t forget keywords for the required soft skills, such as “communication”, “adapt”, “organise”, “time management” or “professionalism”, and the systems you use. Use these soft skills keywords throughout your CV and LinkedIn profile to describe your achievements. For example, “I used my time management skills to plan a successful annual conference with a strict budget in a short time frame.”

Make sure you link keywords with proof that you did your previous jobs well. A simple trick is to combine an action verb with a keyword. For example, instead of writing that you “always achieved your target goals”, try “I surpassed target goals by 20 percent in Q1 and 18 percent year-on-year.”

Create a strong LinkedIn profile

Then create a strong LinkedIn profile. A lot of people leave the summary field blank, but you should use the full character count to highlight your successes, skills and value. Of course, use appropriate keywords here too.

It’s also important to avoid unusual job titles. Even if your official job title is unconventional, use an industry-standard title in your CV and online profile so it will be recognised.

Remember to ensure your CV is in the accepted format as an alternative style might not contain the content that the algorithms recognise, meaning your application could fail to make the shortlist.

Recruitment will always remain a people business. At its heart are trusted relationships, which means that the value of the human touch can’t be overestimated. But at the same time, technological advancements such as smart algorithms, are improving certain elements of the process. Recruitment is evolving, and with these tips, you’ll be able to evolve with it.

Thank you for reading. For more useful advice and insights about the world of work, visit our dedicated blog page here or click on one of the links below.