Why “Close Enough” Isn’t for Resume Keywords

Jobscan blogWe’ve all done less than perfect work at some point in our lives. Whether submitting a vague English essay or only slightly braking at a STOP sign, sometimes “close enough” is sufficient.

One place that’s not the case, especially in today’s job market: submitting your resume.

In fact, if you want to land that perfect position, you must use the right resume keywords. Here’s why…

Robots Need Exact Matches

When you submit your resume through an online application form, the ugly truth is that it’s not going straight to a pair of human eyes. Most companies now use ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) to maximize efficiency in their hiring processes. An ATS scans the resume keywords in your application, looking for matches between those keywords and the corresponding job description. The software then generates an overall score based on the level of that match.

Where the use of ATS technology hurts jobseekers, though, is that automated software just isn’t capable of thinking and processing at the same discerning levels as a human being. An ATS cannot always, for example:

  • Differentiate between singular and plural versions of a word;
  • Correctly process acronyms; or
  • Recognize keywords in resumes that differ slightly from the job description.

So let’s say a marketing job with a global sporting goods company catches your eye. One portion of the job description calls for the ideal candidate to:

“Leverage internal directives, brand assets, community activations and consumer know how at POS. Lead seasonal marketing executions to increase core retail KPIs.”

As a bullet point on your resume, you use the following marketing resume keywords:

“Activates communities and works with asset branding. My experience with Point of Sale transactions has increased core retail KPI’s.”

resume keywordsEven though you’ve clearly got the necessary experience for the position, your resume isn’t going to make it past the ATS stage because you:

  1. Used “activates” instead of “activations”
  2. Spelled out Point of Sale as opposed to writing “POS (Point of Sale)”
  3. Added an apostrophe to “KPIs”

So What’s a Jobseeker to Do?

Identify the crucial resume keywords for each individual job application. You could do this manually, but why would you when you could use Jobscan? Go to our main page, post your resume in one box and the job description in the other. . .and voila! Instantly the resume analysis tool will indicate how well your application aligns with the job description. Jobscan also makes specific keyword suggestions to improve your overall match score.

(And psst! Don’t forget to sound like a human being in your resume as well… ultimately your goal is to use resume keywords to get past that ATS and ensure that your qualifications are seen by a real human being.)

When it comes to appeasing robots with keywords for resumes, unfortunately there’s no room for error. “Close enough” should apply to Pinterest fails. . .not your resume.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at JobScan Blog!





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