How to Get Your Resume Past the Screening Process

Resume Tips

Are you tired of applying to job after job only to get the cold shoulder? If so, you are not alone. In fact, lack of response after applying for a job is the number one complaint of job seekers. Unfortunately, this lack of response can leave you feeling discouraged.

Don’t give up yet. There’s a strong likelihood that it’s not your skills or experience that are holding you back – it’s your resume. A recent survey shows that 75 percent of hiring managers are now using Application Tracking Systems (ATS) to filter through resumes.

So, the question becomes, “How do you get your resume through the ATS?” and the answer is – keywords. ATS software scans the resumes looking for specific keywords, and your job is to make sure these keywords are in your resume. Here’s how.

1. Customization

An important step that many applicants fail to do is to customize their resume for each job. This doesn’t mean that you need to write a whole new resume for each job you apply to, but you do need to tweak it a little for each position. It’s crucial that your resume shows that you have the necessary skills and experience to handle the job. To demonstrate this, you may need to change some wording on your resume. Always take the time to review your resume and make any necessary adjustment before submitting.

2. Scan the Original Job Posting

The best way to find the right keywords is to look at the original job posting and job description if one is posted. Scan through these descriptions and jot down any relevant words or phrases you find. These keywords could include various skills, such as time management and team player, as well as various education and skills requirements, such as a bachelor’s degree, industry certification, and professional license. Be sure that you include as many of these keywords and key phrases in your resume that matches your specific skillset.

3. Perform Industry Research

You also want to add some industry jargon to your resume to show that you have an in-depth understanding of your particular field of expertise. Take some time to read through career sites for leading companies in your industry and check out some relevant LinkedIn profiles. This will give you a better idea of the technical language others in your field are using. Then, you can incorporate this industry lingo into your resume to attract the attention of the ATS software and your prospective employers.

4. Spread Keyword throughout Your Resume

Don’t make the mistake of writing down some main keywords from the job description and then adding all of them under the skills section of your resume. The ATS software will see right through this and likely reject your resume. Instead, you want to spread the keywords throughout all sections, including work experience, education, and skills section of your resume. For example, you can highlight your professional certificates or licenses under your education section and some required skills under your work experience. This will show that employer that you are a well-balanced employee with all the right qualifications.

5. Don’t Go Overboard

You also don’t want to go overboard. No employer is expecting you to have every single skill and attribute they want in a candidate. It’s essential, to be honest, and accurate when crafting your resume. Only include the actual abilities and attributes you have. Incorporating several of the vital keywords in your resume will be enough to get it through the screening process.

6. Include Location in Your Resume

Like it or not, location is still important to some employers. However, many of today’s applicants are choosing not to include their home address on their resume. This is fine to do, but you should incorporate your general location someone in your resume. You can consider just including your current city and state with your contact information. Another option is to be sure to include the city and state of previous employers and education facilities if relevant to the job. This could help the ATS system match your location with the employer’s criteria.

7. Don’t Plagiarize

The last thing that you want to do is copy wording from the job posting or job description and paste it into your resume. The ATS system will identify this type of plagiarism and reject your resume. You can use the same keywords and small keyword phrases, but never put them in the exact order as they are listed on the job posting. Many ATS systems also will catch similar words. For example, if the job posting says they want a team player, you can state that you collaborated on a big project at a previous job. So, you can change up some of the wording in your resume.

Following these tips can increase your chances of getting your resume past the screening process. Spending a little extra time on your resume before you submit it could mean the difference of getting called in for an interview and getting the cold shoulder. For more information about how to write a resume that gets noticed, check out these GoResume templates.