Many companies today use applicant tracking systems to sift through resumes of job applicants. These systems consist of software applications that automatically filter applications using certain preset criteria, such as keywords, skills, previous employers, work experience or educational background.
Almost all recruiting agencies and most major corporations have some type of applicant tracking system.
Knowing that your resume is going to be evaluated by such a system, what can you do to increase the chance that it will make it through to the people that count? Here are a few tips.
1. Use keywords
Most applicant tracking systems focus on keywords, and so it is essential that you pay attention to keywords and use the right ones. Hiring managers evaluate resumes by looking for specific keywords and skills in their databases. So, you may be eminently qualified for the job, but you will be passed over if you do not have the right keywords in your resume.
How do you know which keywords to use? Take a look at the job posting and what type of skills the company is looking for. You will find your keywords there. Then, make sure these words appear in your resume.
2. Have a section devoted to skills
If you are not sure how to work these keywords into your resume, it will be easier to do if you create a section specifically devoted to your skills. This way, you can simply replace the words in your skill section with the keywords from the job post.
When you talk about your skills, include your level of expertise as well.
3. Add dates
Make sure to include the months and years for each job you have had, as well as for your educational experience. This makes a big difference. Many tracking systems create job applicant profiles by putting your work history in chronological order. So, you want to make sure your background is listed accurately.
4. Give your zip code
Zip code is another basic bit of information tracking systems look for. Sometimes hiring managers narrow their search to candidates who are close to where the company is located, and so the system will search by zip code to determine locations.