Think about when you’re conducting a search on Google. You type in your search criteria, and a list of results appears. You begin clicking on results and can tell within a matter of seconds if the item fits what you were looking for. If it does, you’ll read further. If it doesn’t, you’ll click onto the next result. The same is true with the ATS.
For résumés analyzed by an ATS, it is important to include as much relevant information as possible. Inadvertent omission of key data can be the difference between having your résumé appear in a list of candidates meeting search criteria — and not making the cut.
For example, if you are pursuing a degree or certification, it should be included in your résumé (labeling it as “in progress” or “pending completion”), because a hiring manager may search for a specific type of degree or keywords contained in an area of study.
If the missing information is keyword-rich (i.e., a relevant job, educational credential, or certification), that can negatively impact the résumé’s rating — and, therefore, the likelihood of being selected for an interview.
Keywords can be nouns, adjectives, or short phrases — and describe unique skills, abilities, knowledge/education/training, and/or experience.
How can you find the keywords or search terms that are likely going to be used to query the ATS?
- Review job postings for the type of position you’re seeking
- Analyze your current job descriptions (and job descriptions of positions similar to the one you have, and the one you want)
- MyNextMove (http://www.mynextmove.org/)
- Occupational Outlook Handbook
- Dictionary of Occupational Titles (www.occupationalinfo.org)
- Occupational Outlook Handbook (http://bls.gov/ooh/)
Also look for synonyms to the keywords you identify.