Cheating the ATS with Keyword Usage

A useful tip for creating your resume to print out the job listing from the top to see which keywords you can use. Then, see if your list includes enough of the keywords you found. Next, review your list again to confirm that your keywords are relevant to the position.

Add information to your resume that aligns with your skills and experiences. Instead of adding job duties and responsibilities, try to add personal details that provide insight into how you’ve contributed to employers’ businesses. For example, you might include a brief description of a project you completed as well as the name of the company to which you were responsible.

As you review your resume, remove any information that is no longer relevant to the position. For example, if you list your role as a project manager on your resume, you should instead list your previous job titles. Similarly, if you list your degree as a master’s degree in accounting, you should list your accounting degree instead of listing your high school.

If you are changing careers, starting out in a new industry or you have many years of experience to list on your resume, you should avoid including jobs that are no longer relevant to the new position. For example, if you are applying for a job in sales, you should avoid including your previous job as a cashier unless you have had experience working in sales.

When listing your work experience, limit the list to the past 10 years. If you have additional experience that includes the term “employed,” add it in parenthesis next to the job title. Job duties are listed in bullet points, and the description should explain what you did and why it was necessary to perform the job. Use action verbs to get the most out of every bullet point.

Many companies receive hundreds of applications for only a few open positions. For this reason, many recruiters use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to filter for the most qualified candidates. This means that if you use keywords from the job description, you may increase your chances of passing the ATS.

Make sure to write a specific keyword phrase whenever you mention a previous job title. For example, if you are referring to a manager position in a previous job, you can write “Manager of operations.” If you are referring to a job in which you were a cashier, you can write “Cashier.”