We all know that employers can receive hundreds of applications for the one job, so it makes sense that many companies are now using Applicant Tracking Systems to filter out resumes.
Unless your resume contains certain keywords and phrases that match the recruiter’s needs, you are likely to stay locked out of job success. So what can you do to make sure your resume makes it through to the hands of the employer?
Look for keywords
A good place to start is the job ad itself. Review the ad you’re applying to and highlight the keywords relevant to the job, then make sure you include these in your application.
Keep the language clear and concise
Be careful using any industry specific language or jargon. Your resume sometimes goes through a human resources department before it gets to a hiring manager, so make sure it’s written so anyone can understand it.
Keep it short and simple
When putting together your resume it’s a good idea to think like a computer. Keep it to a couple of pages and leave the formatting as simple as it can be. Delete any pictures, logos or symbols you may have included to make your resume stand out. Stick to a standard resume format in a normal font such as Arial or Times New Roman. The technology can’t read fancier fonts and will possibly reject your resume if it comes across it.
Don’t forget to proof read
Even if you are sure your resume is error free, send it to a friend or family member and ask them to double check it. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes can pick up on errors you haven’t. The technology won’t pick up on your keywords if they are spelled incorrectly.
Avoid Generic Buzzwords
It’s one thing to use keywords, but make sure you don’t go overboard. Some buzzwords are overused and have become a bit of a cliché, especially in certain industry sectors. So as you’re proof reading, keep an eye out and make sure you haven’t overdone it with overused buzzwords, such as motivated, passionate, creative, driven, responsible, strategic, organisational and expert.
When it comes to applying keywords the ultimate goal is to keep both the computer and your human audience happy. Make sure your efforts to get past the Applicant Tracking System don’t result in a resume that doesn’t make sense. While you may have to impress the technology first, you will then be dealing with real people who will make the final decision as to whether they will hire you or not.