What Gets Your Resume to the Hiring Manager?stop

Do you ever wonder how long it will take to get a call from companies once you have submitted your resume? I know I did! You want to hear back from the one that you know is the BEST for you – sometimes they call, sometimes they don’t. So how DO you get it through their system? Do you know their system? Well, there are a few things for you to know and apply, to get that call that could change your life.


You need an outstanding resume with keywords. Wait. What is a keyword? A keyword is a specific word or group of words used to find the ideal candidate for a position. Each industry and profession has their own set. Just as you want the most relevant search results returned when you type a query into Google, the hiring manager doesn’t want to sift through hundreds or thousands of resumes to find the handful of people he or she really wants to talk to (Quintessential Careers). For example, are you a sales manager seeking a position as a sales and marketing director? What keywords would you put in your resume? It would be expected that words such as “implements strategic marketing plans”, and “analyzes and controls expenditures” are highlighted throughout your resume. Just remember, keywords can be nouns, adjectives, or short phrases, as well as describe unique skills, abilities, knowledge, education, training, or experiences. Be creative, but be smart and know the profession.

Where do you find these keywords?

There are multiple places in which you can find keywords needed for your resume to stand out. LinkedIn, or reviewing job postings with your desired title in them. Or even the Dictionary of Occupational Titles is useful. Use as many resume sites as possible when searching for keywords and find synonyms of the keywords as well. Or you can even ask professionals with those titles.

Why do you need to have keywords in your resume and more importantly, which ones are imperative to the position you are applying for? Many companies are using keyword-searchable databases that quickly scan resumes for words related to the job positions for which they are looking. Actually almost 80% of small and large companies, as of 2012, are using these databases! For example, if you listed that you “conducted cross-functional management for initial follow-up contact”, then the set of keywords is “cross-functional management” (Business Insider, Apr 2012). Your keywords should be in bold and there should be approximately 25 keywords throughout your resume. By having these keywords in the top third of your resume, you significantly elevate your chances of attracting the employers’ interest in your candidacy (Ryno Resumes, May 2011). Isn’t that what we all want?! Again, if you want to know which ones are important for your requested position, or even positions of the past, look-up job postings and resumes of others that have had the same titles as you.

So how do recruiters and Human Resource departments score a candidateResume Writing

What score would you need to get a call? First, many companies are using these applicant tracking systems to sort through resumes and streamline their hiring process. The cost of hiring candidates is quite expensive so they are doing the right thing by using these systems. The systems, (typically known as ATS), scan the resumes for keywords inputted into the system for specific positions, and mathematically score them (on a scale of 0-100) for relevance. The resumes with highest relevance scores are passed on to a human. Sounds easy, right? Well, easy for the system, and perhaps easy for you, IF you know which keywords will successfully pass through the system. Remember, have plenty of keywords and you will get a high score, and a high score most likely will score you a place at a table with a human.