If you’re on the job hunt, there’s a good chance your resume is getting pre-scanned by a company’s Applicant Tracking System, or ATS. These programs are designed to help employers sift through applications and resumes more quickly, bringing the best candidates to the top and saving the employer from needing to read through dozens – sometimes hundreds – of bad options.
Here are five tips to make sure your resume makes it through an ATS and ends up in the hiring manager’s hands.
1. Find the keywords
Applicant Tracking Systems use keywords to sort and organize resumes and cover letters, saving the hiring manager a lot of time. These keywords are often based on the job posting itself, so look there for clues for potential keywords, and don’t be afraid to mimic (but not directly copy) the job posting’s language.
“Make sure that you review the job description before submitting your resume – make note of the required and ‘nice to have’ skills on the job description then highlight the key words that are associated to those skills and make sure that they are used exactly on your resume when describing your experience,” says Geoff Webb, a leader with Aon Hewitt’s global RPO team. “An ATS is a computer system and in most cases does not know that J2EE is also a part of Java.”