Each day recruiters receive hundreds (if not thousands) of applications for each advertised position. Being constantly bombarded with information, they simply don’t have the time to sift through all the irrelevant details. They will not spend their valuable time searching thru your resume until they finally figure out what a catch you are. The truth is harsh – if you don’t show HR professionalshow well you fit the bill from the get-go, your resume will end up in the trash. Spamming recruiters with generic documents is a sign of laziness and poor motivation.

And even before your resume ends up in the hands of a recruiter or hiring manager, you must pass thru the ATS system. These Applicant Tracking Systems are designed to further weed out unsuitable candidates using “Keywords”. These keywords will be different for each position you apply to online. In order to make it past the ATS, you need to target your resume and cover letter using these keyword.

How do you ‘target” your resume and cover letter?

First, you want to look at the job posting and determine what the recruiter is looking for? Are you an IT Project Manager? Or are you a Software Engineer? Both of these resumes will have very different accomplishments presented as well as keywords. In addition, each IT Project Manager position could have different keywords programmed into the ATS System.

The HR professional adds the keywords into the ATS that they feel are relevant for each position. These keywords can be quite subjective, so it is important to review each posting for the appropriate keywords. One job posting may state that “Strong ability to motivate” is important while another could say “Working independently” is what they are looking for.

Top tips to help target your resume and cover letter.

To boost your chances of landing an interview (and make the Recruiter’s life much simpler), follow these four easy steps for targeting your resume and cover letter:

  1. Read the job description carefully. You are looking for keywords as well as requirements.
  2. Figure out what the employer needs. What are the duties and responsibilities of the position?
  3. Identify what you can do for their business, how you can meet (or even exceed) these needs. What are your accomplishments that match these needs?
  4. Emphasize this information in your resume and cover letter by using metrics and visual elements to make your achievements stand out, and clearly demonstrate that you are a great candidate for the position.

Yes, tailoring your job search documents to every single posting that catches your eye might be a tedious task, but it pays off handsomely. At iCareerSolutions, we provide targeted, ATS-compatible resumes as well as showing our clients how to target these documents for each position. If you need assistance with your resume and cover letter, please book a complimentary resume review or check out some of our award-winning resumes.

Arno Markus BA, MSc. | 12x Award-Winning 
Certified Professional Résumé Writer
CEO and Founder of iCareerSolutions
Member, Forbes Coaches Council