As the hiring landscape grows increasingly digitised, professionals in the medical device and pharma industries face a range of new challenges. Not only do you need to ensure you’re comfortable with things like video interviews and hybrid work, but you also need to adjust your CV for a new audience too.

These days, it’s not just people sorting through the CVs and cover letters you send into businesses over the web, but “ATS” solutions too. The Applicant Tracking System is a software solution built to help recruitment agencies filter through all the applications they receive.

Unfortunately, over 70% of job applications fail to pass the ATS test.

Here’s what you need to know to bypass the ATS issue.

What is an Application Tracking System (ATS)?

An application tracking system is the software companies use to sort through CVs and applications from candidates in a digital world. Though initially created for bigger companies, many brands are using ATS technology today. Indeed, 95% of companies say using ATS improves their company, allowing them to save time and resources on a flood of applications.

Aside from saving recruitment teams a lot of time and helping hiring managers to make the right choice, ATS technology is also non-discriminatory. This means the software doesn’t consider things like age, gender, and race, helping to improve diversity in the workplace.

Though ATS tech can be a good thing, it’s often a headache for ambitious pharma professionals who aren’t used to adjusting their applications to suit the latest tech.

Fortunately, these tips will help.

1. Apply Only to Roles You’re Qualified For

The number one job of an ATS system is to scan through your application and determine whether you’re qualified for the role or not. This means if you’re not qualified for a position as a commercial director or customer service specialist, you’re not going to make the cut.

Ensure you have the specific skills and certifications required for the job role listed on your CV, so the AI system can immediately determine you’re right for the job.

2. Format Correctly

Formatting your CV correctly is important for any role. The better-organised the information you give to your hiring manager, the more likely your application is to stand out. However, if you think the company you’re applying to will be using ATS software, formatting is even more important.

Reverse chronological formatting is often the easiest option for the ATS system. This format emphasises your work experience by placing it at the very top of the page. To get the best jobs, make sure you highlight your experience in other similar pharma roles at the top of the page.

3. Get the File Type Right

Similar to ensuring the formatting in your CV is correct, you’ll also need to pick the right type of file for your CV. A PDF file is usually the best pick, as most ATS systems will be able to read it. You can also maintain the formatting and design of your CV better with a PDF.

Check the job description carefully to see if the company states anything about the files it cannot accept. If there’s an ATS resume template available on the company’s website, try using that.

4. Don’t Apply to Too Many Jobs with the Same Company

If you’re keen to start your new Pharma or Medical Device career and don’t necessarily mind too much what your role will involve, you might consider applying for multiple jobs at once. Unfortunately, an applicant tracking system allows recruiters to see all the roles you apply to with their company.

If your would-be employer notices the same person applying to all openings at their company, they’re going to assume you don’t have the right skills for any role, and you’re just grasping at straws.

5. Keep it Simple

With an ATS-ready CV, simplicity is often best. A common font like Arial or Calibri will often be a good choice because it’s extremely easy to read. Make sure your font is large enough to be legible on a computer screen, and try applying headings and lists to highlight your achievements.

Try to avoid filling your CV with too many pictures and other pieces of less common media. This can make it harder for the ATS system to process your applications. Stick to well-labelled, concise sections which showcase your knowledge.

6. Use Keywords

The best CV and cover letters are always tailored to the specific requirements of the job. To ensure your application stands out, look for the important keywords in the job description that the software might look for when it scans your application.

For instance, job-related skills are often some of the first things the ATS will look for. If you have experience handling specific medical devices or using Pharma software, use the names of your skills in your CV as much as possible.

It’s also worth using action verbs like “solved” and “created” to highlight things you’ve achieved in previous positions. Don’t use acronyms, as the ATS system may be confused by these.

7. Don’t Try to Game the System

When new tools like ATS solutions appear in the hiring landscape, it’s common for some job seekers to start looking for ways to “trick” the system. There are countless stories about people online adding a section to their CV called “keywords” to copy/paste terms from the job description.

Though you might be able to trick some basic ATS technology here, when your CV gets through to the recruiter, they’ll flag it as being useless. The attempt to game the system may also mean you’re blacklisted as a candidate the next time you want to apply for a different job with the same company.

8. Design for Robots and Humans

Finally, remember that there will be multiple people reading through your CV to determine whether you’re right for the job. This means you need to consider things like ATS-friendly formatting and file types, but you should also consider how you can appeal to a human recruiter.

Don’t just repeat the same keywords over and over. Showcase your personality and ability to use language succinctly and professionally. You still need to impress the human recruiter before you get the job of your dreams.

What Next?

Working with a good Pharma recruitment company ensures you’ll get inside tips on the recruitment strategies pharma businesses are using. This means you can prepare your CV to be ready for any ATS technology. Partner with Kinetic to improve your chances of being hired in any position. You can contact us via email or on +971 (0)4 442 0921.


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