Tailor Your Resume to a Specific Job [How To]


Resume Keyword Optimization

How to optimize a resume for applicant tracking software and tailor it to specific roles

You may have heard about the importance of optimizing your resume for applicant tracking systems (ATS), but how exactly do you go about doing so?

As we mentioned in our article about how applicant tracking systems work, Jobscan's ATS research study revealed that 98.8% of Fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking systems.

Needless to say, keyword optimization is important to pay attention to - especially if you are applying for jobs at large companies.

One of the easiest ways to optimize your resume is to read through the job description, identify relevant keywords, and naturally incorporate them into your document.

ATS Optimization Checklist

Let's look at a practical example to help you understand what we mean.

Below, we'll analyze two documents:

  • A job description for a hotel development posting
  • A sample resume tailored to that posting

Step 1: We started by highlighting the most important elements of the role that would be important to include on the resume.

Incorporate Keywords into Your Resume

How to Optimize Your Resume for ATS


Step 2: We incorporated keywords related to those we identified on the job description.

In doing so, we made sure to:

  • Incorporate a few keywords that were exact matches in a natural manner to avoid the perception of keyword stuffing
  • Incorporate similar concepts that weren't stated on the job description verbatim
  • Avoid directly copy and pasting long phrases from the job description
  • Avoid discussing any experience that the candidate didn't actually have just for the sake of "optimizing" the resume
How to Optimize Your Resume for ATS

While you want to clearly convey that you have the relevant skills and effectively optimize your resume for applicant tracking systems, your resume still needs to read naturally and be truthful!

At one point or another, a human will read it, and "keyword stuffing" is rather obvious to detect.

If you need help optimizing your resume for applicant tracking systems, our expert resume writers can help! Submit your email address below for more information.

We're also happy to look at your existing resume and provide feedback on how we can help if needed. Simply submit it here!





About the Author

Matt Glodz

Matt Glodz is the Founder and Managing Partner of Resume Pilots and a Certified Professional Resume Writer.

After studying business communication at Cornell University, Matt worked within Fortune 500 companies, where he observed what drove the decision making of recruiters and hiring managers first-hand, noting that qualified candidates were frequently denied interview opportunities due to poorly written documents.

At Resume Pilots, Matt combines his solid business and writing background - which includes prior work for a Chicago Tribune publication - to craft resumes that give his clients the best chance of landing interviews. He currently works with applicants ranging from CEOs to recent graduates and has been writing resumes for over eight years.

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