Do you speak in “Keywords?” Of course not, but ATS's or Applicant Tracking Systems do.
If you have ever applied to a job online then you need to learn the language of the ATS.
ATS's search resumes using keywords to bring the most qualified applicants to the top of the list. They are a huge time saver for HR and have eliminated the need to sort through hundreds of resumes for each position.
However, while they are highly efficient... they are not always accurate!
As an HR Professional, I have experienced first-hand many cases where a highly qualified applicant was lost to the black hole of the ATS database. Why? They didn’t have the “right” keywords in their resume. I’m going to show you how to speak the “language” of the ATS so you can get your resume into the hands of a human.
It’s all about KEYWORDS.
But not just any keywords or phrases, they are very specific. ATS’s are not able to infer the meaning of keywords or interpret any variances to the keywords in your resume. ATS's speak a very static language and the system is looking for “specific” key word matches. Where do they come from? They are entered into the system by hiring managers or HR professionals to describe the qualities they want candidates to have for a specific job.
How do you find them? All you need to do is to look at the Job Description.
The job description will contain the same keywords that the ATS is looking for in your resume. You can try services like Wordle or TagCrowd to help you figure out which keywords to focus on. JobScan is also another great one if you are looking for a more comprehensive analysis of your resume and how it relates to a position you are applying for. Once you have the keywords identified you will want to make note of how they are spelled or listed and sprinkle them throughout your resume in the exact same format.
Pay close attention to:
✓ Plurals ✓ Abbreviations ✓ Numbers ✓ Hyphens ✓ Acronyms ✓ Synonyms
For example, are they listed…
Lastly, keep in mind that the ATS only reads hard skills. Leave the soft skills to the cover letter and interviews. Saying you are a team player and hardworking cannot be quantified. Rarely does a hiring manager or HR professional include soft skills into the key word bank of an ATS.
Instead focus on technical skills, credentials, certifications, education, position titles, software tools, etc. Those are the areas of focus for an ATS. It’s not enough to have a great resume. A great resume is just the starting point! What truly works is to customize your resume to every job that you apply for.
You also want to keep in mind that it is best to avoid “Stuffing” your resume with keywords. It’s not a turkey on thanksgiving and more is not necessarily better. You want the right keywords to be appropriately placed for this to be effective. HR professionals can see, and smell, the stuffing a mile away.
Two strategies I use for my clients:
Get creative and find your own ways of including the right keywords and your resume will be on the fast track to human eyes in no time!
If you need help or have a question, Grab some time on my calendar to see how my services can work for you! https://calendly.com/emilyhrlogicsolutions/15min-free-consulting