ATS, Your Resume & Relevant Key Words

ATS, Your Resume & Relevant Key Words… Are you already overwhelmed? Let’s define these terms and see how they work together.

ATS: This is an acronym for the Applicant Tracking System.  It is software that enables the electronic management and administration of the recruitment and selection process for the organization. The ATS helps the organization streamline the hiring process. 

Resume: As a job seeker, you utilize the ATS to apply to a job.  Your resume is then parsed into the database.

Relevant key words: The recruiter reviews applicants in the system and selects the candidates that they would like to move forward in the process.  The recruiter will review the job description and determine which words are crucial in determining the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform the job. They will utilize these words and conduct a search. 

How do you determine the relevant key words and include them on your resume? You are the subject matter expert when it comes to your role. If you were hiring your replacement what do you want to see in a resume to make you understand that the person has the experience, qualifications, knowledge, skills and abilities? Sit down and take inventory and highlight the words you see in your job description, job ads online, LinkedIn, and your own credentials.  Now, ensure these words appear in your resume.  An ATS ranks resumes based on these keywords, thus you have a better chance of ranking high if the terminology matches the job ad; however, I don’t recommend customizing your resume to each and every job unless you are applying for very different roles. Why not always include these relevant key words in your resume?

Consider the following tips:

– Create a Core Competencies or Areas of Expertise section – this will allow you to sneak in some more relevant key words within your resume.

– Include both acronyms and the long form when first mentioning it in your resume.

– Ensure your resume is free form typos and looks professional.

– Save your resume as an MS Word document or PDF.

– Utilize a simple font, like Calibri, Arial or Times New Roman.

– An ATS cannot read information that is included in tables, columns, text boxes and headers/footers. You can use bold font, italicized font, underlined font, colored text, borders, and shading to make an impact.

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