Job Hunting in the Early Stages: Why Resume Keywords Matter
Often the first reader of a resume is an applicant tracking system, which searches for important keywords. Here are tips for using resume keywords.In the employment search, the power of the word—or the keyword, actually—should not be taken for granted, whether the job hunter is just out of college or a seasoned pro. Job seekers need to incorporate keywords representing their skills into their resumes because frequently the first impression they make is not on a human but an applicant tracking system that will search for these words. Often, long before HR professionals, recruiters or hiring managers read resumes, they are loaded into applicant tracking systems, or ATSes—software designed to match keywords representing job hunters' skills with what employers need. Job seekers hoping to be among the select few who make it to the next stage must prepare their resumes so that ATSes will score them favorably. If candidates' skill sets are incomplete, they haven't represented themselves well on their resumes—with comprehensive descriptions of their skills using well-chosen keywords—or their formatting is incompatible with ATSes, they will not make the first cut, employment experts maintain. "People would be shocked at how many resumes never get looked at," said Ted Elliott, CEO of Jobscience, which specializes in social recruiting and talent management applications, including ATSes.
More than 70 percent of resumes aren't seen by the human eye, Mona Abdel-Halim, co-founder of Resunate.com, a job application tool, wrote on Internet news blog Mashable. "… Employers large and small now use applicant tracking software to parse the information from your resume and map it into a database called an ATS. From this information, the system will assign you a score based on how well you match the job the employer is trying to fill, and then rank and sort all candidates."