These days, a job posting can receive hundreds (if not thousands) of applications for a single position. To help them sort through the sometimes overwhelming number of resumes they receive, both employers and hiring companies are using automated software to trim down the list of applicants.
Don’t just use the keywords in the job description. Many other applicants will also include these, and so most automated systems will go beyond this and look for semantic matches. For example, if you’re applying for a CPA position it might look for accounting, financial, and others. Some programs will also look for the context the keywords are used in, and so don’t just drop them in at the end but include them in various areas of your application.
Prioritise your keywords. By examining the job description posting you can figure out which keywords are likely viewed as most important by the employer. Look for words listed in the job title, headlines, ones that are used more than once, and those in the criteria. It can also help to include competitor’s names, phrases surrounding the priority keyword, and notable industry qualifications and memberships (if relevant).
Have a chat with a friendly insider. An HR manager, employer, or professional resume writer who works with others can be a goldmine when optimising your resume. Ask them what they look for in an employee, and what skills they value in the industry.
Include keywords across your resume. As well as looking for the use of keywords, most automatic screening programs will look for their distribution and where they’re included. For example, they may look for a specific keyword under your employment history. Include them dotted throughout your resume, and if possible in bullet points in descending order of relevance to the job you’re applying for.
Be specific and relevant. Most companies are looking for experts, not a ‘jack of all trades’. For example, instead of saying you have management experience, use the term client relationship management. Instead of marketing, consider revenue growth or risk management.
Remember, the end result of your efforts is to get your resume in front of a real person! So, don’t forget to make your resume complete and easy to use. Opt for plain text instead of photos or images wherever possible, and use bulleted lists instead of paragraphs. As well as being easier for the automatic screeners, both of these steps make reading your resume easier for human recruiters too. Make sure to address every listed job requirement, and include any specialised or additional experience or education.
By following these tips, not only will you boost your chances of having your resume land in the hands of a real human, by making your resume clear and concise you’ll also increase your chances of landing an interview too.
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