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What Keywords Help Resumes Pass Companies Software Systems?

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

Nailing an interview for a position in any organization—whether big or small—may be impossible if your resume can't pass a companies software system scan. Many job seekers every so often blame the large volumes of resumes that are sent to hiring managers as the reason they're not getting called in for interviews. This may be partially correct since it’s impossible for hiring managers to review the hundreds, if not thousands, of submitted resumes of job seekers.

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However, here’s the twist—many resumes are usually trashed before they’re even seen by hiring managers! “How is this likely?” I know that’s what you’re thinking.

Well, modern organizations depend on the companies’ software systems—commonly referred to as the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS’s)—to help pre-filter the submitted resumes. The company software systems works by scanning the submitted resumes for keywords and phrases and statistically scoring the resume for relevance. Only the most qualified candidates—whose resumes score higher—are sent to the hiring managers for review.

While using the companies’ software certainly saves hiring managers the time and trouble of sorting the best-crafted resumes from inept and weak resumes, it may also mean that your application can slip through the cracks. This is true if you don’t format it according to the right keywords that hiring managers are looking for on a resume.

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To ensure your resume gets past the software system and into the door for the interview, you’ve to know which keywords to use. Fortunately, in “What are the keywords that help resumes pass Companies Software Systems?” we explore these keywords.

Let’s begin with the major question of them all—what are Keywords?

Well, keywords are the key phrases and any contextual information that’s related to the position that has been advertised. Just like any profession, there’s always the lingo that defines how communication takes place in that profession.

Therefore, for any job position that you are applying to, you should ensure that the resume not only has the qualifications, job experiences, and achievements but also the right keywords, terminology, and search phrases that can help your resume pass the companies’ software systems scan. Bearing in mind that the companies’ software systems are not human beings but robots, it behooves you to know which keywords hiring managers and the software systems are looking for in a resume.

What are the most popular keywords that you should include on your resume?

To make sure that the companies’ software system recognizes you as the perfect fit for the job, use these popular keywords on your resume:

  • Achieved. You can use this keyword in the achievements sub-heading on your resume to demonstrate your accomplishments in the previous job.

  • Improved. For instance, you can say “Improved the performance of mathematics from 63% in 2013 to 76% in 2015 by…” to demonstrate your accomplishments in the previous job.

  • Trained/mentored. If you’ve trained, coached or mentored employees in your last job, you can use this keyword to rank higher in the company’s software system.

  • Managed. You can use this keyword to showcase your managerial skills.

  • Created. If you implemented a system in your previous job, then use this keyword to help your resume rank higher on the ATS.

  • Volunteered. You can use the keyword “Volunteer” to demonstrate your personality skills to the hiring manager.

  • Influenced. Use this keyword to showcase your leadership skills.

  • Revenue/profits. Use this keyword to explain to the hiring manager that you’re equal to the task.

Things to consider while selecting keywords in a resume:

Rather than just dumping all the keywords from the job description in the resume, it’s vital to employ a strategy that’s in sync with the requirements of the job that has been advertised. When you use similar keywords in all your resumes, you may not achieve your bottom line. So, here’s what to look for when deciding on which keywords to use on a resume:

#1: Consult with an established and well-known certified professional resume writing agency:

Unless you've been writing resumes professionally for at least 5 years, it's time to consult the experts. An established, well-known resume writing agency have full-time writers who have industry specific background knowledge of how to help your resume pass a companies software system. If your engine blew-up, would you try and fix it yourself or take it to a mechanic who understands the in's and out's of rebuilding your engine...? Don't trust yourself in trying to write your own resume when there are professional resume experts who can do it better then you.

#2: Don’t just focus on the job description:

Sophisticated ATS’s have gone beyond just the keywords that have been defined in the job description. These software systems are now using semantic matches—related terms—to parse through resumes and get the best candidate. For instance, if you’re an ACCA holder, it’s vital not just to use ACCA, but also keywords such as accounting and financial statements in your resume.

#3: Always prioritize the Keywords to use in a resume:

Before you craft your resume, it’s important to audit the job description to create a list of priority and secondary keywords. While the priority keywords are based on the organizations listed job title and description headlines, the secondary keywords provide your industry qualifications and experiences.

#3: Consider consulting an insider on what keywords are appropriate to use

It never harms to get sociable with an insider in the field you’re making an application. You can consult them to assist you to know which keywords are required in the resume. Or, you could also use LinkedIn to find a possible contacts who are in similar positions to find keywords on his/her career summary.

Bottom Line:

Your ultimate goal when crafting a resume should be to get into the hands of a real human being. Unfortunately, before it lands in the hands of the hiring manager, it has to pass through the companies’ software. Using the right keywords can help your resume to get past the companies’ ATS’s. But don’t forget the basics—your resume has to include all the job requirements such as qualifications, job experiences, and achievements.

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