The job market is more competitive than ever. Jobseekers who haven't had to look for a job in quite a while may notice that today's job search is much different than it was 10 or 15 years ago. Almost all resumes are submitted online; in fact, hundreds of resumes may be submitted for one open position.
Most midsize to large companies use some sort of Applicant Tracking System or ATS software to assist in screening resumes that are submitted. Companies are able to set parameters for each position allowing the software to look for keywords associated with the position. The most common keywords that are usually tracked relate to position titles, education and degrees, and the position job description. Here are a few things you can do to increase the chances of having your resume seen by "human eyes":
- Read the job description and tweak your resume for each position before submitting it. For example, if the responsibilities in your current position fit the job description but your resume lists you as a "sales representative," and the job description calls for an "account manager" change the title of the position on your resume.
- If you have the required education and training, make sure your degrees and/or certificates are listed on your resume in the same format in which they are listed in the job description.
- Use keywords that are relevant and current for your industry. If you've been out of the workforce for a while, you can get up to speed by subscribing to industry newsletters and attending industry events or lectures. Know which topics are hot and work them into your resume. In addition to allowing you to stay current, you may find opportunities for networking.
- Lastly, thoroughly research the company. Move beyond the company website. Look for articles that will give you information and insight. Search LinkedIn for connections to colleagues or contacts that can help you get your resume to the right person.