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What happens with your CV?

26th Jan 2017

Your CV is a representation of you. Whether you're hoping it will get you your dream job or perhaps the job you need right now to pay the bills, it's an important document. But what happens to it when you apply for a job?

There are a number of routes that your CV can take when you click submit, so let's have a look at the different journeys:.

Sent via Email

If you send you CV to an email address, one of two things can happen. One, it ends up in the email mailbox of the person responsible for filling that position or two, it gets read by a computer system.

If your CV ends up in an email inbox, it sits there until that person looks at it (if they look at it at all, that is). Often it simply stays there, unread. If the recipient doesn't save that email to a local drive, then it's very difficult for your CV to be found. Try sending a word or PDF document to yourself with a unique set of characters in such as “testing-job-search-123” in it. Now go to your email client and try searching for that character string. Did your email client find it? If the recruiter is using an outdated version of Windows (Windows 7 for example) then searching attachments is a bit hit and miss.

If your CV gets picked up by a computer system, the system will most likely turn your application into an entry in a database so your record can be indexed and searched against. Now these systems are not always 100% accurate, especially for non-English based CVs, meaning that the recruiter might not have a 100% accurate record of what you said in your CV. For example, it will know what a telephone or email address looks like, might struggle a little with dates, especially when you think that 19/01/2017 and 01/19/2017 are the same date; one in UK format and the other in US format..

In both these situations, you are at a disadvantage.

So, what can you do about it?

  1. Ensure you have an intro with specific keywords in the email itself so you can be found easily in a search within the email client (outlook, gmail etc...)
  2. Ensure you provide a clearly understandable CV. eg. use key phrases such as Employment History instead of job chronology etc.

Uploaded to a Computer System

In the recruiting world, these computer systems are known as Applicant Tracking Systems (or ATS for short).

If you upload your CV to an ATS, this is where it gets interesting. Each system can often do different things; some ATSs will parse your CV and create a profile out of it, whereas others will attach it to a profile that it generates with your name and email address. Both methods will allow the CV to be indexed and searched but the former will allow the recruiter to filter against keywords better.

For example, a recruiter might ask an ATS: 'show me all the CVs where the person is based within 25 miles of central London, has a degree in English, and wants to work as a Marketing Manager'.

For this search, the ATS will need to know where you live (postcode), your education and skills, and what roles you have done in the past (as well as which roles you have applied for within the system).

This is an oversimplification, but it shows that you will only be found if your CV has the required information on it.

Again, once your CV has been indexed, it will sit in the database and will show up in search results if the system thinks there is a suitable match with the search criteria.

An advanced Applicant Tracking Systems, such as TribePad, will also index any supporting documentation that you provide such as a covering letter, examples of work, qualifications etc. It will also search and index websites that you provide as links in your CV. This allows you to provide far more information about yourself that is ever possible in 2 or 3 pages of A4 paper.

In the next blog post, we will delve deeper into some of the detail on how to maximize your opportunity to be found when you're applying for a job.