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Increase Your Resume's Impact and Visibility

A lot of job seekers fall into the same predicament, you have written your resume, posted it to every job board imaginable, and sent out dozens of applications, but somehow the phone just isn’t ringing. This could simply be a matter of your resume not working for you. In this age of applicant tracking systems and HR departments forced to quickly review 500 resumes for one position, your resume has to stand out and it has to push the right buttons for you to be called in for an interview. Here are a few tips and tricks that you can employ to increase the chances of your resume being noticed by hiring managers and recruiters.


Keyword Optimization

Just like search engine optimization (SEO) in marketing, keyword optimization relies on the same principle. To review hundreds and perhaps thousands of resumes, recruiters and HR departments are using software to search for specific words and phrases to identify qualified candidates. To maximize your chances of being called in for an interview, you have to take this into account when writing your resume.

  1. Review job postings in your desired field for the qualifications they are seeking and make sure to incorporate these words and phrases into your resume (provided that you possess these qualifications – do not stretch the truth just to optimize your resume for searching because you will be asked about these qualifications at some point).

  2. Utilize strategic repetition by rewording the required phrase. For instance, you could mention "Budget Management" in one area of your resume and in another you could refer to it as "Budget Administration."

  3. Customize your resume to fit the specific job you are applying for. It is impossible to create a resume that will work in all situations and be all things to all people. To further increase your chances of being called in for an interview, you must closely examine the job postings you are interested in to be certain that everything they are looking for has been covered at some point in your resume.


Video: How to Beat Applicant Tracking Systems with iScore


Location and Presentation

Make sure that your keywords are used in prominent places on the resume to maximize their effect. Keep in mind that, although applicant tracking systems and search software are the first gatekeeper, your resume will be at least skimmed by an actual person at some point.

  1. The most eye-catching area of any resume is at the very top. Use keywords and phrases to increase the impact of your summary and core competencies sections.

  2. Pair your keywords with powerful verbs to convey how these skills were utilized. Be certain to vary these verbs to keep the reader interested and entice the audience to continue reading. For example, "Spearheaded establishment of material review committee and implemented root cause analysis to reduce scrap by 50%."

  3. Don’t overdo it. As mentioned above, a person will be reading your resume at some point, so you have to take presentation and readability into consideration. Statistics show that recruiters and HR staff spend an average of 20 seconds reviewing a resume before deciding to read further or not. If your document is one single block of keywords and phrases pulled directly from job postings, you might make it past the applicant tracking system, but a human being will not want to review the entire document.


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It is very easy to become frustrated when searching for employment. It can be an incredibly tedious and impersonal process, but by knowing what recruiters and HR departments are looking for – and how they are looking – you can drastically increase the impact of your resume. By utilizing keyword optimization and paying close attention to the location and presentation of these keywords, your resume will finally receive the response it should, and you will be called in for the interviews you deserve.

by: Freddie Rohner, iHire
February 01, 2014

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