Your resume is a key document in obtaining a job. It has to show what you have done and what value you offer to the company. But it can’t do that if it doesn’t end up in the hands of the Human Resources (HR) Department! HR is crucial during the hiring process. They screen and review resumes. If they don’t screen and review yours, you don’t stand a chance.
Most resumes in today’s world are scanned by an applicant tracking system (ATS) before a human in HR even begins to look at it. If you don’t create a resume that works with the ATS, you’re likely to be kicked out of the system.
So what can you do to make sure your resume lands in HR’s hands? Here are three tips.
Include the keywords for the position.
The ATS is set up to choose resumes of folks most likely to be able to fill the position. To do that, it searches for the keywords from the job posting. If you’re looking for a job as an accountant, for example, the job posting is likely to have words like “accountant,” “regulations,” and “taxes” in it.
The keywords need to match those in the posting exactly, whatever they are. Using similar words but not exact ones, again, puts you in the “you might get eliminated from the system” category. If the job posting says “taxes,” don’t use “taxation.”
Sit with a copy of the posting and circle the keywords. Use all the keywords you circle exactly as they appear.
Use easy to understand headings and format.
Use easy to understand headings, such as “Work Experience” and “Education.” Why? Because the ATS is also going to scan and choose resumes with related work experience if the job posting requires it. It will also scan for any educational qualifications asked for.
You may assume that “B.A., Communications, University of Massachusetts” is clearly understandable as an educational degree. Still, the ATS may not find it so unless it’s under a clear “Education” heading.
You a standard format for your resume, such as a chronological (most recent to least recent) format or a functional format (by similar duties).
Use a standard font and design.
It may be tempting to use one of your computer’s more unusual fonts for your resume. Don’t! ATS systems are set up to recognize standard fonts, such as Arial, Calibri, and Tahoma.
Similarly, don’t include unusual elements, such as pictures. Resumes need to be professional and standard in appearance, not fancy.
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