How To Get Your Resume To The Top Of The Stack

Make Your Resume for The Machines

The resume that wins starts with the resume that gets read.   

The resume remains the first point of contact between a contact and the representative of the hiring company.  So it is important to have your resume game on point.  

These days the resume game has changed.   In the past, you would send a resume, and the hiring managers might go through them, and it was a very manually intensive process.  Now, most resumes are looked up via keyword search.

So, when you are writing your resume, you are writing it for the machines as well as humans.  

You want to do keyword optimization on your resume. 

 These days the initial contact for the job hunt is an outsourced or in house recruiter.  That means they need a method to match the particular job opening with a list of potential candidates. The way they are going to do that is by keyword search.  

So it’s important to list all the keywords of ALL the technologies you use not only in a “keyword list” on your resume, but within the description of the particular job on your resume.

ATS Software

Most of the resumes are scanned with software called ATS Software (Applicant Tracking System).    How does ATS Software work?

  • Searches for resumes with keywords in the requirements
  • Ranks resumes by keyword frequency
  • Ranks the keywords themselves in order of importance
  • Determines if the keywords are being spammed
  • Ranks keywords used in sentences

1. List All Of Your Technologies

Also, it is very important that the list is complete.  For example, I am mainly a .NET programmer.  But .NET Programmer encompasses many technologies.  So I would also list API Development, .NET Core 3.1, .NET Core 2.0, .NET 5.0, MVC Programming, Entity Framework Programming.  We deploy applications on Docker, so I would also List Docker, Kubernetes, Redis Caching Software.  That is hosted within AWS, so I would list AWS, IAM, S3.  The deployment is done with Jenkins, so I would also list DevOps, Jenkins Pipeline.  We use a SQL Server Database, and IIS  so I would list those too……

The reason for this is the employer or recruiter may be keying on a particular technology of importance. So if you are listing 20 or 30 technology keywords, your chances of being found are really multiplied.  

Keyword Density

And if you mention those at least twice (or more if you did them at other jobs) your “Keyword Density” or the number of times your technology keyword appears on your resume will increase.  This will bring you even higher in the search results.

2. Use Keyword Variants

To get higher density of keywords, use keyword variants. Find different ways of describing the same technology and job skills.  Use synonyms and acronyms.   For example AWS can also be Amazon Web Services, MVC can also be Model View Controller     Dynamo Database can also be serverless DB, so use the generic as well as the specific.  

3. Add Hard Skills

The keywords of the actual work you do can also boost your keyword match density.  Programming, architect, deployment, training, leading, managing, etc.  

4. Add Sections to Add Density

To give you more opportunities to add keyword density consider adding the following sections to your resume, and adding your keywords in sentences:

  • Resume Introduction
  • Work History Section
  • Related Skills Section
  • Education Section
  • Training Section

Play to win!  Your resume is your first point of contact.  Be sure to research keywords for the position you want, and then be the top resume for those keywords. 


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