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How to Pick Resume Keywords That’ll Get Your Job Application Past the ATS

By | James Hu |

Submitting online applications can feel like throwing rocks into the abyss. You don’t quite know where to aim or where they’ll land. And too often, when you click submit, all you get in return is an automated email that your materials have been received. We’ve all been there.

The problem is, the majority of resumes never even land in the hands of a human. They’re automatically stored in an applicant tracking system—a software application used by companies to search through thousands of resumes quickly to determine which ones are the best fit for a position. That’s right, your carefully crafted and hand-tailored resume’s getting reviewed by bots.

Companies adopted applicant tracking systems (ATS) because of their efficiency. Instead of a person reading every resume individually—commonly hundreds of resumes per open position—an ATS can scan an entire database of resumes from keywords and criteria at once, freeing up recruiters to focus on the top-ranking candidates.

Still, while the ATS might efficient, it’s not always accurate. That means even highly-qualified candidates might slip through the cracks if they don’t have the “right” keywords. Unfair? Yes. Workable? Also, yes.

Our team at Jobscan has researched the top 10 ATS used by thousands of companies, and tested them against various resume keywords, formats, file types, and more. And all that research has paid off—here’s everything you need to know about optimizing your resume keywords and beating the bots.

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