You read an exciting job posting and apply, hoping to get a response from the company, but unfortunately you’re left feeling frustrated, thinking days later, “How come they didn’t phone me about the position after I sent them my resume?”

Here are some of the most likely reasons why no one is even looking at the resume that you’re sending to potential employers.

Your resume is not optimized for computer scanning software

With the growth of the internet, the way we find and apply for available positions has dramatically changed over the past decade. With just a few clicks of a button, a job seeker can upload or email their qualifications to an online job board or HR personnel. With the increased ability to apply for more jobs in a shorter amount of time, hiring managers and recruiters have to deal with a lot more applications per open position.

To cope, they have turned to recruiting software and applicant tracking systems to help them screen out resumes that don’t seem like a good fit. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) and recruiting software operates by linking keywords found in resumes to qualifications required to perform jobs. The computer software, after scanning resumes, recommends to hiring managers which resumes have been deemed worthy to be viewed by human eyes, potentially saving them valuable time. Job seekers who do not know how the job hiring process works, but whom are potentially qualified to perform the job, unfortunately get the electronic boot.

Check out this article for more on how to beat automated resume screening.

You don’t have a core competency or key qualifications section

Incorporate a section called “core competencies” or “key qualifications” near the top of your resume, which will illustrate that you have the qualifications required to do the job. This will also allow the recruiting software to find the keywords it is looking for early on in the resume scanning process. Keep it short: approximately 12 words. The trick,  though, it to use the right words, and for that, you’ll need to read the job description closely.

Which brings us to…

You’re not customizing your resume for each job application

Pay close attention to the key qualifications or mandatory skills section of job postings. What words are they using to describe this position, its tasks, and requirements? To get noticed, make sure your resume is using the same kind of language, throughout your work experience and education, and within your core competencies and key qualifications section.

Click here to read more about how to tailor your resume to any job posting.

Your resume does not incorporate a diverse set of industry terminology

When you’re looking for a job, read as many job postings as you can – even for jobs that you are not applying for. I know that sounds crazy, but it can be very informative.

By reading a lot of job postings within your career set, you’ll get a good understanding of the industry terms used to describe the skills and candidates organizations are looking for. These terms also tend to be the words applicant tracking software programs pick up on. For example, if you are looking for a job in sales, keywords like business development and account management might be very useful to have in your resume – and you’ll know that by getting yourself informed.

On that note, make sure to look out for relevant online courses, webinars, and local networking events. Not only will this increase your network of contacts, it will also keep you up-to-date on the latest issues and tech innovations. Knowledge of both can then be used to make your resume (and cover letter) stand out.


Ozzie Saunds is the founder/owner of Resume Toronto and the InspiredMinds Group.


See also:

How to optimize your resume for the 10-second skim

Should you put a picture on your resume?

What to include on your resume to get an IT job


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