Because many recruiters and hiring managers are strapped for time, they'll often set the software to scan only the first page of your resume, so it's critical that all relevant keywords appear on that first page, according to Gillis.
Gillis recommends that applicants keep a running list of keywords relevant to the jobs you're seeking, including any jargon, lingo and industry-specific language, and add to those the keywords from the job to which you're applying, and place them in 8-point font at the bottom of your resume. "If the terms are not already on your resume, you must artificially insert them. The best way to do this is putting them all in a separate section at the bottom of the resume. Remember, you're not doing this for the humans, you're doing this for the machines that will 'see' your resume first," she says.
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Using the same language and keywords from the job description doesn't just help humans reading your resume, it also helps if your application is initially processed by an applicant tracking system or a resume parser as mentioned before, says Stanger.
You also should be as specific as possible when describing your responsibilities at current and previous jobs, says Tom Leung, CEO of anonymous job search platform Poachable.
"We see a lot of candidates assuming that hiring managers and recruiters automatically understand what they do based on their job title. They think, 'Well, I'm an online marketing manager, a lot of what I do is self-explanatory,' but that is so often not the case. ...As best you can, spell it out," Leung says.
Recruiters need to know things like, what platforms are you familiar with? What was your budget? What kinds of improvements did you make to internal processes? How your contribution increased the ROI on certain projects? What role did you generally play; were you a team leader or an individual contributor?
If you're applying for a large number of jobs at the same time, customizing every resume might not be feasible, time-wise, but you should at least narrow your top 10 and make sure those resumes are very finely tuned. That kind of attention to detail sends a clear message to recruiters and hiring managers that you're serious about the position and have put time and effort into landing that role.
"Recruiters are looking for any kind of easy out so they can say no and move onto the next candidate. Putting time, effort and thought into customization not only highlights how perfect you are for a specific job, but it says 'I not only have taken the time to customize these documents, I've taken the time to research, explore and understand your company, your business and exactly what the role is; and I'd be a great fit,'" he says.
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