You need to use the right keywords on your resume to get you through the Applicant Tracking System

Mariana Toledo
Posted by in Career Advice

The first step to beginning your job search journey should always be perfecting your resume. As you find the jobs that pique your interest, you should be reading through the job description and requirements and finding ways to customize your personal experiences to mirror the company’s core values. To save time, every resume submitted to a company is cycled through their Applicant Tracking System (or ATS) to make sure on paper the candidate is a good match. Here’s some tips and tricks to make sure you make it through the ATS screening and are invited to take part in an interview:

1. Look for Action Words
The tracking systems are only looking for specific words that match the job description. The best advice is to read the responsibilities section and write down all the action words. Keep an eye out for any recurring words in the job posting that you can apply to your previous experiences that paint you in a great light.

2. Master of all the Suites
You’ve heard of Jack of All Trades, now get ready for the Jack of All Suites! If you haven’t noticed by now, most companies work with some sort of suite of software(s):  Microsoft 365, Google Suite, and Adobe Suite. If you have experience with one or any, it’s best to make mention of that. Along with that, make sure to note any obscure or specific programs the job asks for if you have those skills. For example, a Media Director position will likely ask for SEO strategy and Google Analytics and A/B testing, or an Enterprise Sales position will likely utilize Salesforce. You can work these into experience related bullet points, or these mentions go in their own category, preferably above your career history in a section titled “Qualifications.”

3. Everyone is a Team Player
“Team player.”  “Hard worker.” “Thrives in a fast-paced environment.”

These sound good and you probably think you’re going to really impress them with these terms. Unfortunately, these are actually phrases you want to steer away from! The applicant tracking system isn’t programmed to search for these words, and these buzzwords are just going to clutter your resume. You may truly be a hard worker that thrives in a fast-paced, team environment, but it will take up precious space in your resume, only to be ignored. Find ways to display those core values in your qualifications and experience, using the verbiage you pulled from their listing instead.

Whether this is your first job application or your 50th, we’re all striving to impress the software and have our resumes be seen by an actual person.


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