When developing a resume, it is important to utilize keywords and format properly to make your resume populate within applicant tracking systems (ATS) and catch the attention of the reader. The majority of organizations have applicant-tracking systems that scan over your resume first before it reaches the HR reps and recruiters. The idea is that: the applicant tracking system will narrow candidates down to only “qualified” personnel. The applicant tracking system kicks out resumes that do not have keywords matching the job announcement and improper formats that include: graphs, lines, shading, and pictures (wonder why you never hear anything back?). One way to increase your chances to getting an interview is to make it past the screening software.

Also, the majority of HR reps and recruiters will take keywords from the job announcement/job description they are hiring for and use it to search resume databases or job boards for potential employees: another reason for keyword optimization! No matter how lengthy your resume is, readers will only spend 10-15 seconds scanning before they make a decision to read in full or not. Therefore, you want the keywords to be the first thing employers see. This can be accomplished with a knowledge, skills, and abilities statement, summary, or values section at the top of your resume and after the demographic section. Ensure the knowledge, skills, and abilities match the job announcement. Throughout the content of your resume, no matter the industry, keywords should be used. For example, as an Inventory Specialist – keywords: inventory control, stocking, materials management, accounting, warehouse, freight, records management, barcoding, storage – These keywords need to be included in the resume; showing action (action verbs). Instead of I did or We led…. use action words to show “you” accomplished: “Led a team of 5 personnel; accounting for over $100K in sensitive items”.

The best way to ensure your resume is picked up by ATS is the utilize keywords and develop your resume in a simple format. Resume formats with graphs, lines, shading, and pictures cannot be read by the ATS (automatic trash). The ultimate goal is to have a human read your resume and decide on inviting you to the interview and not an automated system.

*Note: if you have the option to upload or copy and paste your resume, upload your resume so you can be sure the formatting will not be disturbed by the transition.

Jeruard Anderson

Author Jeruard Anderson

Jeruard's experience comes from Logistics, which he carries a Masters degree in. He is a Veteran of the Army and has spent several years working over seas for the Federal Government. His background is extremely valuable for the government sector.

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