Who is reading your resume?

In this age of fast-moving recruitment a computer will most likely be reading your resume before any human sees it. With the advent of applicant tracking systems in the 1990’s resume keyword scanning is now a sophisticated method of developing a shortlist of likely candidates who match the specific job selection criteria.

The resume extraction tool uses advanced algorithms to scan your resume, identify text information, and categorize it using the rules of standard resume formatting. Data such as your name, address, telephone number, education, professional experience, years with each job, and keywords will be extracted and fed into an HR database such as Oracle, PeopleSoft, or SAP, or into a candidate tracking system such as Hire Desk.

So how do you get past these resume scanners and get the interview? There are three essential keyword groups that you need to consider:

  1. Category keywords
  2. Resume keywords
  3. Essential keywords

Category matching:

The first hurdle is to make sure that your resume matches the category and keyword qualifications of the specific job listing. More than ever, your online resume needs to be tailored for the job you want.

When companies are looking for specialists, not industry generalists, identifying a category match is a critical first step.

Examples of generic category expertise are: management, operations, communications, and marketing

Examples of specific category expertise are: client relationship management, financial accounting, revenue growth, risk management, negotiation, and CRM program development

Resume keyword matching:

Next you need to show proof of your experience through brief examples.

Make sure your examples demonstrate the category expertise you’ve highlighted and focus on priority keywords within the job description. Keyword matching not only demonstrates that you understand the job requirements but it also shows that you “speak their language”. Exact matches will likely rank higher. Check the job description and build a list of primary and secondary words to include.

  • Primary resume keywords: words used in the company’s listed job title, used in the description headlines, used more than twice, called out as success criteria.
  • Secondary resume keywords: mention of competitor companies or brand name experience, keyword phrases (phrases surrounding priority keywords), notable industry qualifications (training, associations)

Essential keyword requirements:

These are the easy to address, pass or fail requirements such as: minimum education, years of experience, technical proficiency, geography (depending on relocation parameters), and specific industry experience. Make a list of these requirements and check that you’ve addressed them in your resume.

Incorporate keywords directly into the body of your resume, so that a context is provided for the word. Keywords that cannot easily be used this way can be listed in a separate table. Be aware however, that some recruiters frown on the use of a lengthy keyword table, and regard it as an attempt by unqualified candidates to trick the system. Keep your keyword list short (10 to 12 items), relevant to the job, and accurate in terms of being a key strength you have to offer.

Finally, get your resume in early. In fact the earlier you are in the submission process (provided that you are qualified), the more likely you are to become the gold standard by which the qualification threshold is set for all subsequent applicants.

A Final Word on Job Search Strategy – Advice from Industry Insiders

While knowledge of resume extraction and candidate management software can give you a leg up, motivated job seekers should not rely exclusively on electronic submission of their resume to land their next great job. The laws of the hidden job market still apply, and candidates should be using a multi-pronged job search plan. That is where getselected can help you in the job search process!

Please contact Penny Perkins for an obligation free chat on + 61 (0) 411 541542