Get Your Resume Past the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Searching for a job requires your resume to pass the applicant tracking systems (ATS). The ATS is a resume screening robot programmed with criteria keywords the hiring company or recruiter seeks in a job candidate.

Incorporating the correct keywords, phrases, and terminology in your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile is critical to a successful job search.

I repeatedly mentioned this vital job-searching advice in many of the posts on my Canadian Resume Writing Service website. I don’t mean to sound like a broken record or bore you, but that is just how vital this information is to your job search success.

I want to ensure you 100% understand the importance of including the right keywords in your resume and cover letter to secure job interviews for your desired positions.

If you fail to secure job interviews, the roadblock is probably not your lack of skills, experience, or qualifications. It could be your resume and cover letter that are not beating the online bots. In other words, your job search documents could be missing the correct words and phrases to describe your expertise and the value you can bring to a company or organization. In the age of online applications, this failure can be the biggest deterrent to your job search.

Companies rely on candidates to use the right keywords in their resumes and cover letters. Many organizations and companies use applicant tracking systems to sort through the many job applications from their online job postings.

Hiring screening software is programmed to streamline hiring by sorting through applications and only keeping those containing the right keywords that companies are looking for in a job candidate.

So, to ensure a human reads your resume, you need to ensure it is properly targeted and highlighted with the correct keywords.

How to Get Your Resume Past the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and Into Human Hands

Most people do not know this, but the application procedure is much more complex and goes far beyond the online application page the candidate is seeing. After filling out the form and uploading your resume, the process is taken over by special software designed to filter out irrelevant and unqualified resumes.

Buzzwords or keywords are the primary determining factor in which resumes will reach the next stage of the hiring process and what resumes will land in the black hole.

Knowing where and how to use these keywords will determine which resumes are pushed up the pile. The software does all this automatically, even before a human sees resumes.

How to Use Resume Keywords

The biggest mistake you can make is copying and pasting chunks of text from job postings or descriptions directly into your resume. Of course, you must show how your industry and occupation skills relate to those detailed in the job description. Don’t use the language of the job advertisement verbatim. Not only will this hint at a distinct lack of imagination, but it is copyright infringement. It will leave the prospective employer wondering whether you know what is included in your resume. The trick is to weave the selected industry keywords into your resume naturally. (It may help if you viewed our resume samples)

If you end up with a list of 50 words after doing your initial research to identify keywords, don’t be tempted to try and shoehorn them all in. This strategy can easily backfire and is unlikely to impress the company’s hiring committee. When writing your resume to beat the applicant tracking systems (ATS), be selective about the terms and phrases you include – your resume should read naturally while adding the group of significant keywords.

Use descriptive keywords when describing your past work experiences and accomplishments. Start your phrases in the past tense, listing them in a bulleted format. This method will make your statements dramatic and descriptive. Example descriptive words include achieved, decreased, planned, produced, restructured, transformed, initiated, supervised, and managed.

Use the correct keywords to showcase your competence in a particular field and highlight your competencies and expertise.

Industry keywords include computer skills, sales plans, marketing campaigns, personnel management, employee hiring and training, human resources, teamwork environments, event coordination, professional presentations, directional drilling, client relationships, productivity increases, contract negotiations, report writing, data-driven analysis.

Keywords to use in an executive resume could include strategic business planning and execution, complex change management, fiscal accountability, acquisitions, mergers, client relationship management, global markets, financial planning and analysis, strategic partnerships, internal controls, growth initiatives, etc.

A few examples of keywords to use in an oilfield consultant resume could include safety & regulation compliance, project management, preventative management, quality control management, vertical, directional, and horizontal drilling, production planning, process redesign, resource allocation & administration.

As you know, there are many job titles in the oil and gas field, as with any industry, so make sure the keywords you incorporate into your resume coincide with your skill set and the position you seek.

The Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) Demands Professionalism

As you know, seeking a new job can be challenging. The competition will be quite serious, and you will be expected to do your best to secure the job. The applicant tracking systems (ATS) software will scrutinize your resume and determine if it is well-written enough to earn an interview. For this reason, many savvy job seekers hire my resume writing services. As a professional resume writer, I have in-depth experience in adequately placing the right keywords in your resume and cover letter.

Multiple Places Seach Resumes Using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Note that this software not only recommends you to one company but also puts your resume in front of different hiring professionals simultaneously, giving you the leverage of choosing. This is excellent because you only need to put in your effort once, and the rest is taken care of for you.

All you need to do is write a powerful resume with the right keywords and place the document in strategic places like your social networking sites, blogs, websites, job search engines, online job boards, etc.

The idea is to get your resume into suitable venues so that when companies randomly search for your target position, the applicant tracking systems (ATS) software will pick out your name, even in your absence.

Nail the Right Keywords with These Useful Tips

  • Include relevant associations or professional groups you belong to in your resume.
  • Highlight your keywords when possible, including keywords near the beginning. Search engines easily pick phrases at the beginning of a document.
  • Use the hashtag option on social networking sites.
  • When using acronyms, spell out the full titles and the abbreviated form.
  • Same keyword placement tips apply when writing your cover letter – always send a cover letter with keywords.
  • Always make sure keywords flow well, making for an intriguing read. In other words, don’t make it obvious that an abundance of keywords is thrown into the resume; it should look and sound natural.
  • Use keywords in the resume profile and the job responsibility section of your resume.
  • Be careful not to overuse keywords; the software could tag your resume as spam if you do.
  • Research your industry keywords and use only those relevant to securing your desired job. Only include keywords you are familiar with or skilled in. For instance, don’t include project coordination if you’ve never done this.

Job searching has evolved over the years, making it critical that your resume gets past the applicant tracking system and at the same time stands out when it reaches a human.

Don’t underestimate the power of incorporating keywords in your job search documents.

For more information on this important topic and how you can improve your resume with keywords to get past the applicant tracking systems (ATS), read this blog post:

How to Use Action and Descriptive Keywords in Your Resume

If you’d like to make sure your resume contains all the right keywords and will stand out from the crowd. We invite you to check out the resume writing services we offer. We’ll make sure your resume makes an excellent impression with both hiring managers and applicant tracking systems!