Many companies now push job seekers to apply electronically.
Most employers nowadays ask that you send your resumes via computer, and once you do so, a computer on their end scans it, finding key words that it's told to look for. If you have a good amount of those words in your resume, then the computer automatically sends yours to the top of the list for the hiring manager to look at. This system drastically narrows down the number of applicants that people look at when hiring. It also means that, even if you have a great resume, you might never be contacted because you didn't insert enough key words.
According to a New York Times article, it's now best for job seekers to create resumes specifically geared toward the job they're applying for, and to stay away from creating a resume that can be used for a number of different jobs. This is called "resume optimization," and it can really help you when you're looking for a job.
The best thing to do, says Peter Cappelli, a management professor at the Wharton School and director of its Center for Human Resources, is "try to write the resume around the job description."
He also goes on to say that these computer systems are designed to "cut out thousands of resumes, and less to find the diamonds in the rough." So, it's good to keep this in mind when designing and writing your resume.
Another expert, Ian Siegel, who is the chief executive and co-founder of ZipRecruiter, says that while the thought of a computer sorting through your resume first might sound scary, you really shouldn't worry too much. "Parsers sound fancy," he says, but you'll still want to follow "common best-practice resume structure."
Which means that your resume should look a little something like this: summary, skills, past employment history, and so on. You can even switch your skills and summary sections to make your resume spark, Siegel says, because one of the first things employers are looking at is your specific skill set and what you can bring to the job. And make sure that your skills are under a labeled section.
And while of course it's important to put your past employment history in your resume, we've also learned that it looks good to add relevant details to that section, such as the company size and the nature of the customer based service. You want to be as specific as possible, using words from the job description in your skill set and past employment history, and definitely avoid using terms such as "I'm a jack of all trades," or "I'm a Swiss army knife."
Because let's be honest: no one wants to hire a knife.
So what's the deal with someone wanting to switch jobs entirely? How do you get a computer program to see that while you have been a conservation biologist your whole life, you now want to go into publishing?
It's OK to tweak your resume a little to make it pop, but you don't want to lie. With an example like this, the conservation biologist can say that they've published research or have edited/written content before. Just make sure that you find a way to add those key words in their.
Career coach and founder for More Than A Resume Jane Horowitz says that it's not just key words, but also "key words in context."
Most employers, Siegel adds, won't get cold feet because of a technical title discrepancy, unless you over exaggerate and say that you're a CEO at Time or Whole Foods.
The main lesson here with resume optimization is to not apply for hundreds of jobs with the same resume, but to apply for a few, and make sure your resume is in top-notch condition before apply.
"Think of your resume as a template that has to be customized for every job you pursue," Horowitz says.
Obviously, no one has the time to do that with all the jobs they might want to apply for, so think about the jobs you really want and then go from there. Besides using words used in the job description, here is another site you can look at with a lot of keywords that will help make your resume pop! Good luck!
Make sure to share this with your friends and family, or anyone looking for a job, because it can be a time savior!