7 Ways You Can Leverage Resume Keywords to Beat ATS Systems - a group of professionals had resume keywords to their job applications.

7 Ways You Can Leverage Resume Keywords to Beat ATS Systems : unjobvacanicies.com

Publié le 2 April 2024

Par Amine Boussassi

Make sure your job application gets to a hiring manager with 7 ways you can leverage resume keywords to beat ATS systems.

Not too long ago, resumes were mostly about aesthetics: a neat layout, fancy descriptions, trendy tools in the skills section, and voila! Your profile got the attention of HR, and they’re ready to welcome you to the team.

Well, sorry to tell you that these old tricks won’t cut it anymore, as most companies are adopting applicant tracking systems (ATS) in their digital recruiting process, and if your resume doesn’t contain the right keywords, it gets systematically rejected.

What can you do now? Care less about ATS friendliness? Accept that this is the way things are and binge-watch Netflix all day? Cross your fingers and hope your outdated resume does the trick. You can do better! 

This article is here to help you leverage your resume’s keywords and beat the tedious ATS systems. 

So, grab yourself a cup of hot chocolate, and let’s get down to business!

What are resume keywords? 

Resume keywords refer to the specific words or phrases that align with the job requirements set by recruiters to quickly scan resumes and detect the skills and expertise they’re seeking in a candidate.

You might be wondering, how a couple of words can cause my application to be rejected? Well, We hate to sound like a broken record, but we’ll repeat this one more time: The recruiter will write a list of keywords in the ATS; this system screens your resume, and if it doesn’t contain the right number of keywords, the software puts you out of the race, and your resume won’t even reach the recruiter. 

Let’s paint a clearer picture here with a tangible example: Suppose you’re a Registered Agent applying for a Registered Agent role in Houston, Texas.

Here is the job description posted by the company. 

In this example, the highlighted keywords are the ones that will guide recruiters on ​​how to find a Registered Agent in Texas

And here is how an ideal ATS friendly resume for an ideal job seeker will look like: 

How does the ATS system analyze Keywords?

Seriously, how are you going to optimize your resume keywords if you’re clueless about how the ATS system actually works?

Okay, we get it. If you Google it, you’re likely to be overwhelmed with technical jargon that isn’t relevant to your search. So, to spare you from that headache, let’s break down how the ATS actually functions in simple terms.

So, ATS typically contains a resume scanning feature that is used to scrape relevant information from the applicant’s resume, such as their work experience, contact details, software, and academic background.

After the ATS system selects and organizes the resumes of the shortlisted candidates, the recruiter takes over the hands-on work and starts scanning through profiles to select the ideal job seeker for the position.

But it’ll take a little more work than that for the system to parse resume keywords and hand it to the recruiter, so here are the missing steps of the process.

Exact keyword matching

The ATS tries to identify keywords or phrases that match the job description the employer provides. For instance, if the job posting mentions Warehouse management system (WMS) the ATS will scan for exact words in the resume like “WMS, “Warehouse,” and “management.” If the keywords are identified, the candidate is approved for the next round.

Semantic analysis

While exact keyword matching does a remarkable job, ATS can do better by leveraging natural language processing (NLP) to understand the context and recognize synonyms, related terms, and variations of keywords that align with the job description. 

For example, it may identify “Warehouse Management System (WMS)” as synonymous with “inventory management software” or “logistics management platform.” Quite powerful, isn’t it? 

Contextual relevance

If you thought that’s all, gear up! ATS will connect the dots to figure out the context in which those keywords fit into the bigger picture. For instance, if the job requires the candidates to master a specific inventory management software, the ATS will look for the keyword in the context of a software-related skill or experience. Yeah, you heard that right! 

Keyword relevance and scoring

How do you determine the ATS score of your resume? Through keywords, of course! 

But one more thing you should know is that ATS systems don’t value all keywords equally; some keywords will score more points than others, depending on the job’s specific requirements. For example, suppose you’re applying for a warehouse manager role. In that case, having industry-specific skills or logistics management certifications will count for more than just being good at data analysis.

Now that you know how advanced ATS systems are, you might feel a little intimidated. But don’t worry! This brings us to our next section: How do we leverage resume keywords to beat ATS systems? 

7 Ways You Can Leverage Resume Keywords to Beat ATS Systems? 

Now comes the fun part! Let’s hop ahead to see how you can beat ATS systems using the appropriate keywords. 

Scan… Categorize… Customize

The first thing you’ll do when you come across a job posting you’re interested in is to scan the job description. From there, you’ll identify the most relevant keywords and categorize them as experience-related keywords and skills-related keywords. The point of doing this is to follow the same pattern used in the job description, as the ATS system will likely search for matching terms by category.

Once you’ve categorized the keywords in the same way as they were listed in the job description, the next step is to personalize your resume to match the profile required by recruiters.

We totally get it. It’s a bit of a tedious task, but customizing your resume is worth it if you want to land your dream job.

Place your keywords strategically

Throwing keywords around randomly in your resume is a red flag practice that you should never do. Instead, make sure they fit naturally within the context of your different resume sections, like skills, professional summary, achievements, and experience.

For example, as a project manager seeking a managerial role within a company, it’s strategic to incorporate keywords such as “Quality control,” “Remote team management,” or “Task delegation” in the work experience section. These terms are often listed in job requirements, so this will strengthen the alignment between your experience and the desired criteria set in the job description. 

Include certifications and software

If there’s one thing you absolutely need to include in your resume, it’s your technical certifications and the industry-standard software related to the job offer. Wondering why? Well, Because they often contain keywords that ATS systems are programmed to easily recognize and rank higher. 

For instance, suppose you’re an IT professional applying for a web developer position. In this case, it’s a no-brainer to highlight your relevant bachelor’s degree in computer science, cybersecurity or a related field, as well as your proficiency in coding software such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, data extraction software like Docsumo, or  frameworks like React or Angular.

Use industry jargon 

Never forget to put those industry-specific keywords to work! The more relevant jargon you incorporate for the job you’re applying for, the better your chances of being noticed by the ATS algorithms. And it’s not hard to see why.

These valuable keywords not only demonstrate that you know your stuff in the field but also highlight your expertise for this particular position.

For example, let’s continue with our web developer position; the industry-related keywords that can make a difference include: ‘Java,’ ‘Python,’ ‘Agile methodology,’ ‘database management,’ ‘software development life cycle’ etc.… 

Avoid keyword stuffing 

There’s a recent popular myth that stuffing your resume with the maximum number of relevant keywords will increase your ATS score. But that’s just it – a myth and nothing more.

ATS systems are advanced enough to tell the difference between a well-written resume and one that’s just a jumble of words.

And just a friendly little tip here: conduct a quick research to find synonyms and alternative phrases for key skills and qualifications, as this will help diversify your keyword usage and increase your chances of matching the ATS criteria.

Get real-time feedback

The hype aside, at this point, we can agree that AI is the new normal in the business world, and the recruiting industry is no exception. In fact, plenty of AI chatbots in the market do a fantastic job of simulating ATS processes. 

These chatbots are an excellent option to get an instant ATS score for your resume. You can run a quick check-up to adjust and fine-tune the last details right before downloading your resume.

Submit and repeat 

Now that you have downloaded the resume, all that’s left for you to do is proofread it to ensure your content is coherent and accurate. Remember, typos and grammatical mistakes can also hurt your ATS ranking.

You’re now officially ready to hit the submit button. However, remember that this isn’t a one-time task. Depending on the job descriptions, you may need to repeat this process and customize each resume and cover letter to match their respective jobs.

Final words from unjobvacanicies 

No matter what happened in your previous job applications and your failure to pass the ATS systems, this won’t destroy your career. It’s not the end of the road for you — not even close. 

Now that you know 7 ways you can leverage resume keywords to beat ATS systems, you’re ready to submit your job application. 

Thank you for sticking around till the end! Wish you good luck, high ATS score and a soon invitation for an interview. 

Oh, and while you’re at it, why not give our Resume blog category a shot? It’s just a click away!

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