Keys to successful online resumes

GALE BROWN SANDLER, Griffin Resume Service :::

Today’s resume-writing techniques have to differ from traditional resumes you’ve been mailing out because of ATS – applicant tracking systems.  Companies now use these systems to wade through the hundreds of resumes they get for every job they advertise and there are no human beings involved in this process!  This is sad but true.

Understanding how these systems work can make the difference between your resume getting selected to take you to the next step…..or getting “scanned out” in the 30 seconds that most of these ATS systems take to review resumes.

An effective resume is tightly focused and targeted to the job available.  This targeting includes keywords to improve search rates by the robots doing the online search.

The best way to pass this scanning process is by using “keywords” that are relevant to the position you want.  How do you find the right keywords to use?  You’ll need to do some homework.  Review a number of ads looking for applicants in your field and see what keywords they use in their job descriptions. Pick out the most frequently listed words you see these ads.   Also, look for certain jargon and job-specific buzzwords used in your industry that will get picked up in the scanning process.

Keep the keywords simple.  Some “skills keywords”  could be:  computer skills, management, multitasking, public speaking, teaching, outside sales, verbal/written communication skills and organizational skills.  “Experience keywords” might include:  quality improvement, project management, accounts receivable and payable.  If your resume doesn’t have the right keywords, it might get rejected even if you have great experience and other related qualifications.  The keywords are for the computer software scanning, but the written content is for your human readers.

Make sure your resume is not just a laundry list of duties but is one that features your achievements and demonstrates that you can be a major contributor and add to the bottom line.  Use bullet points to give the descriptions of what you did more impact. Don’t just talk about what you did, but rather what you achieved as a result of what you did.  Be specific and use numbers (i.e.) increased sales $1.2 million dollars over the previous year; increased productivity in the plant 15%, decreased safety incidents in my department from 85 to 10 last year.

Finally, make sure your resume is well formatted with enough white space and that you’ve used Spell Check to proofread and correct spelling and grammar.  Use Microsoft Word since most businesses use that software over other word-processing programs.

Don’t be afraid to continue your job search at this time of year.  Many employers are looking for candidates now because they have 2014 budgets set up and know exactly how much they can afford to spend on new hires.  So take advantage of the timing and good luck to you in your job search. Ω

Gale Brown Sandler is the founder of Griffin Resume Service and can be reached at

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